She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, by singing, made.
Wallace Stevens, excerpt from “The Idea of Order at Key West”
Who makes a clearing makes a work of art,
The true world’s Sabbath trees in festival
Around it. And the stepping stream, a part
Of Sabbath also, flows past, by its fall
Made musical, making the hillslope by
Its fall, and still at rest in falling, song
Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir, page 59
These poems interested me because they both use music as a metaphor for either actually or figuratively making a world or place. “World-making,” as the theme also finds itself in academic discussions, is often related with the arts or creative practices more generally. In particular, the work of Amos Wilder, Nelson Goodman, Martin Heidegger, and Nicholas Wolterstorff explore these themes of art making a world, each in their own way. And while this post will not delve too deep into that philosophical milieu, I wanted to at least briefly reflect on one issue related to the topic: the relationship between the imagined world and the real world.
What interests me about this concept of world-making is that we have to see the artist’s “world” that they have made as necessarily separate from, yet connected to, the world in which we live. Amos Wilder, for instance, addresses this point in his article “Story and Story-World.” He says that through “all the arts of speech,” we are engaging in the practice of “world-making,” and that this poetic practice is always related to the real, lived world. In other words, there is a necessary connection between the real and the imagined.
Lived experience, Wilder suggests, is necessarily part of the action of world-making. The making of a world through narrative and story, therefore, is “deeply rooted” in our desire to be placed, in our “quest for orientation.”  Stories not only answer the questions of what and how, but also where; they orient us in the world. Wendell Berry similarly suggests the relationship between orientation and creativity, when he recommends, “One accepts the place, that is, not just as circumstance, but as part of the informing ambiance of one’s mind and imagination.”  Place, and everything else in the real world, informs the artistic imagination, so that even when the artist seems to be “making something up,” they are pulling, at least in part, from a storehouse of particular things that they have encountered in the real world.
This relationship between the real and the imagined highlights for me the importance of cultivating our relationships to places in the created world. If the worlds we make in our art are connected to our real worlds that we ordinarily inhabit, then we must begin to see how our attitudes about place affect how we make our art and to what end we make it.
 Amos N Wilder, “Story and Story-World,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology XXXVII, no. 1 (January 1983)., 354.
 Ibid., 360.
 Wendell Berry, Imagination in Place (Washington D. C. : Counterpoint, 2010)., 12.