Source and activity 7: Author Christopher Rush

Tapping into the unconscious

Photo of Christopher Rush
'A twelvemonth and a day'
author Christopher Rush.

Christopher Rush has said he believes in the importance of tapping into the unconscious. That art is the result of the total personality. This total personality is 90% untapped by the rational, conscious mind.

He says that a writer does not write from the top of his head. That if he or she does, it's just superficial marks on paper. It is why he believes in the importance of tapping into those big childhood memories.

The 'big emotions' of childhood

In this video, Rush says childhood is where 'the big things are trapped, the big emotions'. That in childhood we are more alive and alert. And it is a shame that as adults, we become trapped in the everyday, the conscious and the rational.

You can also read a transcript of this video.

In the video, Rush quotes one of these lines from 'Ode. Intimations of immortality from recollections of early childhood' by William Wordsworth:

'Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.'

Questions for discussion

  • After you've seen the video, think about what Rush says about bringing 'the total personality' to art. What do you think he means and do you agree with him?
  • Why do you think Rush places such importance on the impressions that are formed from childhood experiences?
  • Read the extract from the Wordsworth poem above again. What is the poet trying to say? How well does it match what Christopher Rush says about childhood?
  • Rush says that the blank page presents a wonderful challenge for the writer to write something that posterity will read and remember him by. Are there any other things a blank page could represent to a writer?
  • Try and remember something from your own childhood and think about how you would write about it. Try coming up with different treatments such as a song or poem.

Literacy and English experiences and outcomes: LIT 4-05a; LIT 4-06a; LIT 4-07a; LIT 4-09a; LIT 4-14a; LIT 4-19a.


Themes in focus — Christopher Rush


Christopher Rush in the Library's collections

For information on how to access the Christopher Rush archive, see our Manuscripts enquiry page.


Ordnance Survey 1957 map of St Monans and surrounding area including the old railway line.


A wide collection of other xmaps of the East Neuk of Fife are also available to view on the Maps of Scotland sheet viewer.


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