Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fuses, Lit and Sizzling

If you stop what you're doing for a moment, then pause to listen closely, the sound is there, a sizzle from what seems to be the extreme edge of your hearing range.

Over the years, you've come to be able to identify the sound for what it is.  Because you have a high degree of suggestibility and some experience with the use of imagination, perhaps the burning smell is your own addition, but perhaps it is real.

The sizzle is of a fuse burning.

Each time you make a decision, you are in effect lighting a fuse.  Different decisions have fuses of differing length.  Some fuses were so long when you first lit them that you have to check in on them now and then to see if they are still burning.

From time to time, in your inspections, you see the ashes and detritus of fuses you've lit in the past, fuses that have reached their charge, caused their consequence, leaving you to regard the results of burned bridges.

Which brings us to the most important and apparently longest fuse of all, the one fuse you did not light yourself--the one lit for you as though it were some memorial candle by your parents.

A story begun is a lit fuse, a decision made is another, each in its way an event set in motion with some expectations of a result, each bearing the potential for that great and energizing additive to life and to story, surprise.

At this stage in your life, with the sizzle of lit fuses never far from your ear,you embark on learning about a thing, let's call it X to avoid your own glorious tendency to mix metaphors.  You learn about X in hopes of having it fit in with or be useful for Y.  Or you begin a story or essay about X hopeful of finding out how you feel about it, what it means to you, and perhaps even what to do about it.

You are in effect lighting any number of fuses, not quite certain what they will detonate when they have burned their course.  You do know something about all the bridges you have burned in order to have reached this point; there was a deliberation bordering on desperation. You believe despair to be a close relative, say a first cousin, of fear. This means you were desperate to get here as the you of right now.  Perhaps a bit fearful you wouldn't.

How can there be story without decisions?  How can there be life without a sense of story, reminding you of the constant need to be alert for the surprise that might dart across the road in front of you at any moment?

You have arrived at this moment to make decisions informed by all the decisions that got you to here.  You actually have several strike-anywhere wooden matches in your pocket, which could come in handy for lighting fuses.  You have a number of fresh notebooks, quite a few pens.

You have a particular fondness for surprises, a penchant for mischief, and the impatience of a man who has waited in a line for too long without knowing here the line goes or why you joined it in the first place.

And you have the ambient sounds of fuses, sizzling.

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