Saturday, September 29, 2012

Elephants


Nothing is ever what it seems, although there are potential stories inherent in individuals who take things at face value, and even more nuanced stories possible as organizations and groups proclaim transparency for their agendas.

Writers are more apt to encounter resonant stories when they see the world about them through lenses of cynicism or skepticism.  You find yourself more open to surprise when you take things as they are presented, thus making you a) old enough to have had some experiences with the way things are presented b) of a nature where cynicism emerges as an I told you so, and c) mindful of ways language has the power to cause individuals to see what they wish to see, often in direct opposition to what is.

With these attitudes in place, you’d think the real and apparent would be prime targets for your investigation as story material, but in fact you are drawn to a greater depth by the unseen, the mysterious.  Once, in the process of a routine medical examination for your dog, and another time when the examination was for you, you were asked to supply fecal samples to help determine if there were any occult blood.  Until those times, you’d neither thought of nor heard of the potential for blood being occult, as in hidden.  Occult meant something otherworldly and paranormal, what book editors call woo-woo.

Occult can and does mean hidden.  Hidden means not just the world to you but also possible worlds, worlds of discovery and surprise.

Nearly as you’ve been able to decipher the interior codes that describe you, much of your approach to the kinds of writing you perform have to do with discovery of how you manage in the universe, how you communicate with others, how you interpret signs and data, and how you solve mysteries of existence.  You came into this universe at 11:46 in the morning one early September some years ago at approximately Wilshire Boulevard and Fifteenth Street, Santa Monica, California.  Your parents, a number of adults, and a remarkable older sister subsequently instructed you in things.  For some time, you took much of this instruction at the face value you’ve described above, then in the course of experiences, shifts in attitude, and a growing sense that things did not add up, the books did not balance, you began to question, then form your own visions of how the universe works and at what points your view diverged from more conventional views.

Why were things hidden in the first place?  This question evolved to the greater question, why were there so many elephants in so many living rooms?  It now seems there is scarcely a room you can visit, whether an actual room or a metaphorical one, in which there is not at least one large bump.  Experience has taught you to expect—to suspect—an elephant as the cause of the bump.  Writing has led you to believe your suspicions were well grounded.  Writing has led you to believe there are bumps within you, with the same elephant-to-bump ratio within you as within Reality and Metaphor.

You are not the same individual on a daily basis.  There is some comfort in measuring the number of things you get done over a period of time, considering the Marx Brothers-styles of management philosophies.  Your inner Grouchos, Chicos, and Harpos seem to agree on a basic product, which you thought at one time, was the short story. Then it became the novel, and then the essay.  At some point editing was thrown in, followed by teaching, followed by an omnibus approach.

This was quite a satisfactory vision of you, but something remained hidden, urging you to look for it.

True enough, you do produce (and have produced) a fair amount of writing, but as your investigation of occult things continues, the discovery begins to loom before you. Your writing stands you in some kind of stead, but this is so only because of the major product.

The elephant, waiting under the bumps in all the uninvestigated rooms.

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