Monday, July 2, 2012

More Chemistry


The feel of chemistry at work on some part of your being reminds you once again of being alive.  Not that you weren’t alive before or that you needed the prod of a reminder; you were in fact responding and interacting to other chemistries in which other forces, attractions, itches, yearnings, and sounds were a metaphoric swarm of cicada, humming and chirping the chamber music of a Summer night,

There is always a chemical reaction going on somewhere, inside of you and out, in places where you are and in places you see only in film and photography or other forms of art. It is a rare hour, much less a day, when you do not feel the pull, sometimes gnawing, other times poking.

The other day, there was an enormous chemistry between you and a braunschwiger and pickle sandwich, a chemical inheritance from your late pal, Digby Wolfe.  Today there was chemistry with a bunch of clematis and puffy pink hydrangeas left you by Lupe, the cleaning lady, and the discovered chemistry of a Face Book friend and former student, who’d changed her picture, reminding you how far beyond the reaction between elements and matter chemistry extends.

Because of your experiences working for a range of publishing ventures, in which a part of your job was reading and evaluating your responses to manuscripts and proposals, you have an awareness of chemistry to some degree beyond the ordinary reaction to a story or narrative.  You can often tell within a matter of a few paragraphs if there is chemistry worth pursuing.  Of course the same “guidelines” emerge in your dealings with people, and of course there have been times with manuscripts and people where your first sense of a lack of chemistry has misled you.

The implications of chemistry remind you that you are much like a satellite in orbit, sending signals out to be picked up and that you as well have receptors in places you’re aware of but other places where there is less specificity to the point where you venture “a gut feeling” or express “a visceral response” depending on the circumstances.

Analogy and metaphor proliferate as in the dropped calls many of your cellphone friends experience or the times during peak transmission hours when computers, gasping for bandwidth, take longer to download signals or sites.

What determines the sense of chemistry you feel toward a person or a book or a story?  Why do some dogs and cats seem to treat you as members of the same pack while others still are wary of you or aggressive toward you?

What are the attractions between the elements that are you and the elements in, say, noir fiction?  Why is there so much nourishment in a particular smile and the appearance of so little in another more perfect or dentally enhanced smile?

You know a bit about the signals flowers and plants send out, attracting bees and other insects to visit, thus engaging in a kind of ongoing orgy wherein pollens and seeds and spores are exchanged in a flurry of chemistry.  This causes you to reflect on the warp and weft of your own day and your part in this vaster-than-Wikileaks exchange of information and fertilization.

Individuals with whom you feel no chemistry might nevertheless deliver to you a phrase, a word, and attitude.  You’ve been at particular pains to work on this aspect of your behavior, hopeful of demonstrating to the world and to yourself and such individuals as you contact that youth is well served, youth is lovely and bright, and yes, outstanding in its beauty, but so are the rest of us.

Sometimes, rereading something you’ve been working on, you are impressed by the black hole of indifference that has swallowed up the chemistry and spat out the dross.  You look for ways to move the furniture, to remove the friction between words and ideas, bringing verbs as though nosegays for high school sweethearts, ideas as bouquets, figures of speech as arrangements, turning the bunch of violets, which as such things go, were sweetness personified into a dimension of color and shape and scent and meaning.

There are words and phrases you consider the equivalent of weeds.  Attempting to avoid these have startling effects on your style, your voice, the way you see things.  There are other words, often onomatopoetic, you must be on your guard to use sparingly lest they take the focus away from your overall intent and call attention to themselves as the expensive flowers in the arrangement.

The right word.  The right sentence.  The right paragraph and page and narrative.  All these elements owe explanation to the word “right,” which may well be your chemistry and some other person’s annoyance.

Go forth about your day and your days, broadcasting your chemistry, but do not neglect to absorb the ongoing orgy.

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