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Reading between the lines (Conscious Intention)

A friend who was reviewing ‘The Insidious Vine’ asked me:

“It seems that there is more going on between the lines of the book than is actually written in the words - was this your intention?”

The answer is yes. However, this intention was not apparent to begin with.

Intention in the arts is a subject that has fascinated me for many years. In fact ‘conscious intention’ within all aspects of life has been the focus of much of my work in consultancy and coaching. And yet I know that for myself and for many of my colleagues working in ‘the arts’ the creative process often transpires without a conscious intention. Frequently a song with lyrics will emerge in the mind of the musician without any conscious intention. More often than not the song will be performed and recorded by the artist without any thought given to what the song is about, or what the audience will get out of listening to it.

The original draft for ‘The Insidious Vine’ was composed within about six weeks. The problem was it just happened - I had an urge to write and it was written. That was in 2016. The book took another two years to complete.

What I had put down on paper during that six week period had been achieved with no ‘conscious intention’. If I was going to take the work any further and even consider publishing it, then in my mind I had to find a reason for doing so - what was the meaning behind what I had written and what was I wanting any prospective readership to experience. I explored the writing and the meaning behind what I was doing became clearer. The chapters started to make sense. I was able to see the links between all the characters and their relationship with each other. I finally knew what I wanted the reader to experience.

Now whether or not I have achieved this ‘between the lines’ is up to the reader.

Of course a ‘conscious intention’ does not have to be deep, meaningful and serious.On a simple level the ‘conscious intention’ of a musician performing a song or piece of music could be just to want the audience to feel excited and happy. A ‘conscious intention’ helps an artist to move away from the risk of being self-focussed to becoming audience centric.

For me as a musician and writer a conscious intention (hopefully) helps me not to become stuck up my own backside.

So let me leave you with a question to ponder - can any writing, music, picture, theatre, dance, et al. be classed as art without conscious intention? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The Insidious Vine is an imprint of SomaHolis Publications and available from Amazon. The audio album is available for download from

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