On fractals, math, art, creation, the universe, quantum physics and, of course, writing.

I’m a writer, but I love art in any form. I can (and do) spend hours looking at sites like Pinterest and Tumbler. I’m all about feeding your head and your muse, but also, I just love art. Here’s an example from one of my favorite artists, Chris Achilleos. This is the sort of thing I would look at and immediately start thinking up stories to.


I find the creative process itself pretty interesting. I’m always curious about other people’s methods and experiences. All around the world, at any given time, there are probably hundreds of thousands of people engaged in this art or the other. Musicians are jamming, painters are painting, writers are writing, etc. etc. etc. There is a common thread in the need to create,  and whether it comes from a need to heal, to speak, to express oneself, I suspect that at some level, for most creative types, it pretty much comes down  to ‘I HAVE to do this or my soul will wither and die.’

I see something different in every WIP I have. One is a tapestry. I was vaguely conscious, while writing it, of the sense that I was weaving threads together. Another is a painting, or more of a mural, really, but I wasn’t painting it so much as uncovering it from a covering layer of paint, scratching away the coating a bit at a time.

In another piece, I pretty much wrote this as a story.


And don’t even get me started on the one that is a labyrinth. The plot for that, as a diagram, would look something like this. It’s been driving me nuts for years and I suspect I’ll be grey, wrinkled and half-senile before I’ve completely solved the damn thing.


I find it interesting how people approach art in different ways. I was recently listening to an interview with the (omfgamazing) band Pontiak, and at one point in the interview, one of the members mentions that he sees music. Literally sees music, as color;  to him different patterns and notes are different shades. Another member of the band sees music as shapes and patterns. (I’m not quoting this word for word, but the interview is here.) Anyway, from what he described, I’m guessing music presents itself to him as fractals. This blew my mind for a second, but then when I thought about it,  it isn’t much of a leap to go from one of their songs (sample – North Coast) to something like this. (Oddly, I sort of ‘see’ their music now too)


I love fractals.  I think the universe speaks and dreams in fractals. They’re pretty, but there’s a lot more there than meets the eye. Fractals are essentially mathematical formulas presented visually. If you want to kill a few brain cells, read the Wikipedia entry on them.  If  you keep an eye on sites like LiveScience, you’ll notice that fractals kinda sorta resemble, a graphic of brain synapses firing


or a virus


or DNA


or antimatter


or entire galaxies  imagesxxx

or transcendence


or maps


or steampunk art


or ugly/pretty Gothic looking carpets


I  also found Dr. Emoto’s water experiment fascinating. He froze water, wrote messages on it, and then photographed the results.


(Note: the water they played metal for looks like a speaker \m/)


Ok, so fractals are, at their basic level, math. I fricking hate math. I despise numbers. My brain was built for words, not digits.  But, as was noted in the movie Contact, if there is a universal language, it would not be words, but math.

Music is math. If you can’t count, you can’t play.


Dance, on one level, is math. If you can’t count the steps as choreographed, you break the pattern.


Photography is math. You’re measuring light, shutter speed, apertures.


Sculpture? Math. Algebra, I guess, because then you are dealing with angles and such. Painting? Yup. It’s there again. Angles. Shapes. I guess that might be more trigonometry, but close enough.

Maybe you aren’t counting, per se, but those damn numbers still figure in.

So, ok. This all makes sense on some level. At our innermost, cellular, molecular cores, we are math. We are cells dividing. We are atoms and DNA that are basically built from numerical codes. We are made from elements that are again, numbers. Doctors test our health based on numbers.

But what does any of this have to do with writing?

Aside from the obvious use of rhythmic and syllable counts in poetry? Beats in dialogue? The three-act structure?

Here are a few diagrams of the hero’s journey as  fractals.





I’ve always felt like creativity is a bit more than just scratching an itch. There are times I feel I am channeling something, or tapping into something. You know that feeling you get when something just comes? When you spit out a story or a poem all at once?

Maybe it’s just, you know, quantum physics.

I think I have some weird writer version of ADD, because in pondering all this, I find myself wanting to write this


Or maybe just print this  and write a poem through the colors.


Or maybe I will just go draw some smiley faces on my water bottles.

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