Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Junk Yard of Stories and Ideas

Some hunters prefer the duck blind or the camouflaged platform in the dense forest.  Others prefer the scrubby, pungent chaparral of the high desert.  For your part, you prefer the coffee shop or the beach at dead low tide, where the tang of iodine and seaweed merge with the kelp , and the sand imparts a scratchy awareness to the driftwood.

You are not always comfortable with the notion of yourself as a hunter, even though you have forged admiration for those who forage for their own game, bring it to their table often with great cooking skills.  You do not know such individuals, but you do know of them and from time to time have fed upon the results of their hunting, fishing, and overall generosity as expressed in foil-wrapped packages or Zip-Lock bags of one kind of flesh or another.

In fact, however, you are a hunter, at times stalking your prey with a purpose driven by needs of your own creating.  You may well be more than an occasional hunter, aware of your stealthy occupation and your arsenal of weapons only when the prey gives the impression of being scarce.

Your target it the idea or concept that can be turned into a larger project.  Your prey is a detail that, like the coins of your childhood, had more of a ringing resonance to them when dropped on some stone or wood surface.  Such details seem to seek others or are sought by others, forming larger skeins of movement, eventually working their way into some narrative fabric.  Like the hunter who serves up his or her ducks or wild turkeys in a personal recipe, some reduction of wine or secret stock, you take some pride in presenting finished works, their use in causing conversation of more value to you than whatever financial arrangements.

The possibility of which you spoke--of being a full-time hunter--originates with the awareness that sometimes, even in your work area at home, or those moments in your car where you organize lecture notes moments before a class, present themselves to you, much as the bird hunter or large mammal hunter is presented the accidental bounty of being in the right place.

Being the kind of hunter you are, you acknowledge the times your right place happens to be something you're reading, a conversation you're having, an interview on Public Radio, or the sudden presence of a word or concept, buzzing about your mind like a persistent fly or mosquito.

Your hunting implements are not guns nor fishing rods nor bow and arrow, rather they are notepads, fountain pens, pencil stubs, index cards, the reverse sides of credit card receipts for meals or purchases of gasoline or impulse shopping at groceries.  This Blogspot space you have created is another such implement, where you leave notes, reminders, scraps of conversations, shards of impressions.

One of your dearest friends in the world terms himself among other things a catch-and-release fisher person, the rainbow or brown trout he catches and does not return going immediately for a late breakfast, the others let go to ply their own hunting for flies, worms, and such other largess provided by the whimsical tides of Nature.

There is a circular kind of comfort in the awareness that you are yourself such a hunter, a catch-and-release hunter, keeping only those details, notions, and ideas that may be useful, may fit in some in-the-works project or suggest possibilities for yet others.

You've always been fascinated by visual and written images of front yards littered with the wreckage of automobiles or washer-dryer combinations or possibly even farm implements, in a sense individual salvage or junk yards.  These go hand in hand with one or more characters who are being pressured to clear away this unsightly mess so that perhaps chickens or goats or ducks may thrive therein, even vegetable and flower gardens.  The characters of your choice reveal themselves to see each of these scrap hulks as incomplete dreams, for which, some day, there might be a use and then there will be all these spare parts for them.

This blog site is such a littered front lawn of rusted-out hulks of ideas, conversations, and contraptions that have already passed their use-by date.   You have in fact pulled at least one book from this site and used it to nudge stubborn projects into some kind of inertia.  It has moved you from times of high opinion  bordering on rant and screed to discoveries about yourself you were not aware of .  In metaphor, it is a series of pencil lines on a door frame, measuring your growth--or your lack thereof.

In further metaphor, your pocket notebooks are scrap yards, but you have no intention of bringing in goats or chickens or ducks.  These vagrant details and relics are spare parts and incomplete dreams which may yet intrigue you, capture your intention when you are in one of your hunting modes, eager for some useful scrap on which to build a sentence, a paragraph, a dream.

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