The prefix "proto" is found in technical writing, meaning "first" (as in the first form of a chemical compound or biological process). But it's an evocative word for me as a composer when used to refer to the origins, deep in the unconscious, of a creative idea. I call the first sketch of a composition the protocomposition. I would like to know if "proto" is sometimes used this way by poets and writers.
The origin of life and creativity fascinates me, and I think there's mystery there. We can ask small questions like, "How did my composition evolve to get to this place?" Or we can ponder the moment a human life comes into existence and how a person is formed, gradually, over time. Or we can ask giant questions like "Where does the universe come from?"
Somehow, something very tiny--a fetus, the early universe, or a dumb little ditty--changes over time to become something magnificent.
I don't have the answers, but I love to sense the profundity of the questions as conveyed in art. If I simply say the word "proto," thinking of the potential of something very small and young, I feel a stirring.
If I have managed to convey something of what I mean, I would be interested if "proto" is ever used this way.
Edit: let me be more specific -- of course I know I can use it however I like in my own writing, but I'd like to see if other people have done so. Some made-up examples would be be a poem titled "Proto," or a neologism in a poem like "protofeeling." Or it could be the use of any existing proto- word but in a context that appeals to the emotions. The technical "proto" words don't convey much of the almost-spiritual feeling we can have about potentials--potential life, potential feeling, etc.