Monday, May 24, 2010


When some explosive presence detonates in your immediate awareness, you have no choice but to be transformed. Go, then, and be transformed. You are no longer business-as-usual, regardless of what business-as-usual used to be--or not be.

The discovery you have made confirms your worst suspicions. Or it ratifies your fondest hopes. Discovery is your A Ticket to the phenomenal universe, a gateway to the terrain where dots, once forlorn in their separateness and loneliness, are now connected in the exciting sense that one plus one no longer equals two, but rather three. Or maybe four. You have added some nuance of understanding to the point where all of creation appears to you to be engaged in a grand, cosmic canoodle.

Discovery becomes your personal trampoline on which, if you reach high enough, you may bound from dumbness to bliss for a moment or two before returning to the perpetual reality of all the things you neither understand nor are aware of. How does a nucleus really work? Why are there left-handed molecules? Why does water circle the bowl in different directions depending on what hemisphere you happen to be peeing in.

True enough, certain discoveries can undercut all manner of previous progress you have made, reducing you to a more quivering mass than a hunk of Jell-o in a school cafeteria, causing you to be suspicious of other persons, fearful of falling in love with one of them or falling in love with an idea or falling in love with a story. In that sense, a first draft is like a first date, filled with awkward silences and sudden, desperate attempts to project wittiness, understanding, sympathy. Even with considerable revision, the final draft is never quite up to the first bright flash of inspiration that lured you in, confident this would be the time you scored.

You may learn that not only does no one understand you, no one wants to understand you. It is three o'clock in the morning and you are faced with a gut-wrenching decision telling you to kill off a favored character. Then you discover that no one cares, not until the work in which that character appears has been published, attracted attention, then made over. Then the persons who are made to care become convinced what you did was a fluke you are unlikely to repeat. No one particularly cares about that either.

You discover how utterly vulnerable you are when someone who is attractive to you smiles at you. You discover that some parts of you do not wish to go it alone, moments later discovering there are parts of you who despair of ever finding someone willing to go it with you.

There are pairs of opposites everywhere, a gigantic dialectic only too willing to shout you down every time you have found an operating system, a Cosmic Snow Leopard that functions without bugs or hitches when you seek solutions from the universe for problems you observe as real and which in fact may well be real.

You discover that someone you thought to have wronged you and whom you considered to be a son of a bitch is weighing heavily on your conscience to the point where you forgive that individual, only to be wronged again by the same person doing precisely the same sort of thing. You discover that forgiving that individual has not brought you far along the road to comfort and happiness. You discover that happiness isn't all its cracked up to be--pretty boring in fact--and that pain may bring out the shortness of your temper and increase the distance between you and your work rather than allowing you to get inside it, be part of it, lose yourself in it.

You discover that there is no way to avoid discovery however industrious you are about numbing down your receptors. You discover you are in effect a first generation iPhone in a world of 3G iPhones, an 8 MB iPod Touch in a world of 64 MB iPod Touches.

You discover that there is nothing for it except to go forth, downloading the music of the spheres, hopeful some of it will remain and that it won't all seem like a dream. If you can't precisely whistle what you hear, perhaps you can hum a bit of it and perhaps someone will hear you and ask you what it is you're humming.

You discover a good deal about yourself by your frame of mind and the way you answer that question.

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