Saturday, April 7, 2012


What shape does the energy of an idea take when you are first aware of it?  Is it a blob, or perhaps a cloud?  Is it transparent, translucent, a tad opaque?  After all, how many ideas come to you formed?  Not even in your dreams.  But it is beginning to talk to you, a tiny form of the sort the Right-to-Lifers want us to look at before the fetus is sent back to the drawing board.

You listen to the idea speaking, wanting to explain itself to you, eager to emerge from the collision of emotions forming it, excited with itself for having caused the micro-Big Bang in your creative cavity.  Soon, there is a semblance of a dialogue, it trying to explain itself to you, while you begin completing sentences for it, urging it to add more details.

But, it pleads in your direction, I am not a writer.  I look to you for that.  My department provides form.  You describe it.  You fucking dramatize it.  How, then, can you ignore it?

You are captured in focus now, absorbed by it.  Even though you have other quotidian and developmental chores, you have been, once again, yanked into collaboration with your own research and development department.  This arrangement has worked to your advantage on many occasions.  You may have had moments of despair and doubt about your own range of ability, but you have never consider outsourcing your own R & D department.

As more or less of a precaution, you remind yourself of any number of publishing ventures where the editorial department is the metaphorical dog, being wagged by its metaphorical tail, the sales department.  One of the oldest such ventures in America is still alive, publishing wave after wave of titles.

At one time in your life, you thought nothing about sales; editorial was magical to you.  Then you tipped over toward sales.  Then you returned to the state where you saw your senses as a thing separate from you.  Your metaphorical dog is back on track, wagging his tail as opposed to being wagged by it.

We need to find out what you are, you tell this idea.  You can see it wink at you.

For the past several months, ideas that say they are short stories have been paid heed to the point where you have taken copious notes.  In one case, you have even launched far enough into a draft to know the idea will stay in place for some time.

On the surface, you may appear to be calm, even at ease with himself.  More than once, you have even experienced the luxury of what you call “a working nap,” in which you are less than asleep but by no means alert and awake, toying with a particular project, chipping away at some chore related to the revision of your nonfiction book, playing with the editor’s suggestions on the novel, expanding the tentative visions of projects attempting to arm wrestle your attention down on some sheet of paper or some computer file.

There are so many conversations you are having, with yourself, with friends, with those you think to call associates, with those who are students, and of course there are clients.  At the best of times, you are in a conversation with the Cosmos, excited by the small, explosive possibilities around you.

Leaving the building of your university college earlier this week to wander across a swale of lawn separating you from the parking lot where your car had things you needed to retrieve, you came upon a squirrel, sunning itself in the late afternoon warmth.  The squirrel allowed you to take its picture, as if in recognition that it was a souvenir of some cosmic awareness that had a potential for meaning.

This will hardly have been the first time you were aware of a squirrel on a campus, nor will it have been the first time you have seen some small, living thing, eking its purpose with scant awareness or regard for you.

The numbers don’t matter, do they?  What matters:  the impulse to stop, investigate the squirrel or the appearance of a flower in an unexpected place or the way a particular flower in a particular bed calls itself to your attention because of its beauty or tenacity or radiant color or shape.  What matters:  the flower is unaware of you; it is doing its beauty to attract a bee or bird or some other flying being, perhaps as remarkable a concoction as a hummingbird or as mischievous as a mocking bird.  In a way, it is all about sexuality, pollination, fertilization.  But that works pretty well for ideas, doesn’t it?

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