Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Business is to Create by Eric G Wilson

My Business is to Create: Blake's Infinite Writing by Eric G Wilson is an inspired book drawing on William Blake as the primary muse and source of inspiration.  Blake’s own mysticism permeates the text because it is not practical, in the sense of the author’s suggestion how the reader should apply the ideas he presents.  In that way, this is not merely a “how-to” presenting theory and then suggesting applicable exercises one can do.  Rather, it is a presentation of a creative philosophy, informed by the writings of an artist who was as much a mystic as anything else, and allows the reader to draw relevance in action.

To fully appreciate this remarkable book, it helps to be conversant with the works of William Blake.  Facsimiles, which include his illustrations, are available in print and some can be found online.  His poetry is canonical and can easily be found in most public libraries.  While it most surely helps to be familiar with Blake’s works, this is not necessary to enjoy Wilson’s discussions and the seamless way he connects Blake’s theories with works of other artists, writers, philosophers, et al, from eras past to the more contemporaneous persona who were themselves inspired by Blake’s visions.

Each chapter is a sort of presentation cum meditation and each builds one upon the other.  To read this book quickly, chapter by chapter, is as inevitable as is the desire to stop at the end of each one to reflect upon what has just been read, to perhaps seek out a movie that is referenced (i.e. Wilson mentions The Powers of Ten, a short film which can be found on youtube) or opening up a collection of Blake’s poetry and read with new eyes to see. 

In other words, this book is one that will need to be read initially to get an overview, then again to begin to experience the deeper meaning of each of the chapters, and again with the innocence that Blake himself contended could only come with knowing, and yet again to see how a previously overlooked idea can be put into personal practice.  Wilson trusts the reader by removing himself and not suggesting how the one should live out Blake’s inspiring theories.  In doing so, the reader is invited to become a mystic, to allow your art to become your life and your life to become your art.  Surely this is what Blake would have hoped for anyone who learned from him long enough to go their own way.

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