Sunday, 6 January 2013

Epiphany - Festival, emotion and writing

Epiphany is a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi. It is also known as the twelfth night and traditionally all Christmas decorations need to be taken down and put away by this day. Some believe it to be bad luck to leave them up.
It is a time when some special people took gifts to a special king whose whereabouts were located by the appearance of a star. There is a lot of beautiful symbolism in the story but it is placed, Bethlehem, and a time, the reign of Herod, allocated by Matthew in his gospel. We also know that Herod was not a nice man - he had a wife and two of his sons murdered!
But epiphany is not just a festival it is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe breakthrough scientific, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. A common myth predicts that most if not all innovation occur through epiphanies. You can see where this is going I suppose. Epiphanies are rare events and tend to accompany many hours, weeks, months or years of hard work. 

Thomas Alva Edison quote - 'genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.'

To those of you who are involved in writing or any imaginative art that requires deep personal input you will remember epiphanies that cut through the creative murk that writers call a 'block'. The feeling that flash of inspiration gives is wonderful, brilliant and brief!

I had a similar epiphany last week while writing my 5th Steele novel, 'Inception of the Species'. I had been plodding along feeling increasingly that this book was rather too formulaic when quite suddenly I knew where the story had to go next. How do I know it was an epiphany? Well the idea had never occurred to me before; it had me writing furiously; and, I was exceedingly happy. Unquestionable evidence of epiphany!
Enjoy the day.

God Bless