Stringing Words Together

My head is falling apart. First it was just a small piece of my nose. I dismissed it as an accident because I noticed it while I was shaving. Then I began to realize that skin was being taken. Wrinkles which had distinguished me would come up missing, leaving a blank stretch of pale face subject to any kind of projection. The skin in the wrinkle was taken, and the blank space was covered over as if nothing was going on. Maybe this is just a collagen kind of thing, but where’s the story in that?

Earlier I was watching CSPAN, because that, along with PBS and NPR, is my source of news. Today there was something about the books which have influenced Obama, and there was a group of writers talking. One of them began saying that the significant thing about Obama wasn’t so much that he was a reader, but that he was a writer.

And I was thinking, “How can you separate those things?” Is it like whether you’re a top or a bottom? “Hey, I’m a reader. Are you a writer?”

“I can string words together.”

“Yea, but can you tell a story?”

“Are you open to absorbing one?”

“How long is it?”

“It varies according to how detailed I make it. Sometimes I’m expansive, other times it’s quick setup and a punch line.”

One of the writers on CSPAN began expanding on his subject, saying that writer’s are odd; they are different from other people, because they spend a lot of time alone, and they are focused on things like symbolism and mythology and intersecting logics and so on. And I thought, “What's odd about that?”

His assertion that writers are fundamentally different has been moving around in my head and it is only gradually occurring to me that I might not be odd by nature. I might just be exhibiting the symptoms of years of writing, the way a hatter used to go mad from inhaling mercury fumes, or how an old carpet installer has bad knees.

I stopped for a long time because I didn’t want to spend so much time alone. Having stopped processing my raw thinking into a more digestible form, I dissolved into liquid and, without containment, flowed downhill into a crazy Rochart pattern which began to collect narcissistic projections. After awhile being alone didn't seem so bad anymore.

But I don’t think I really ran the logical equation that writers are different from non writers; I am a writer; therefore, I am different from non writers. But as I was watching these writers talk about Obama, I thought, “Oh no. That’s what I’m like when I do that.” Because one of the writers had gone off into a process of following some undigested material. I could see the other writers starting to glare a little as he rambled. Like most writers, he was like a hound on the scent of something just out of reach. He was following a question which was not well formed.

An intuitive exploration usually originates in a question, such as Einstein’s asking himself what would it be like to ride on a beam of light. That is a well formed question. Someone else might have an altruistic bent, and ask what it would be like to serve man. In the curious case of Benjamin Button, someone asked what it would be like to age in reverse. Well, for one thing, you’d start adding collagen and your mirror would steal your face right off your head.

Posted: Mon - February 23, 2009 at 06:54 PM