I often marvel at the stars
and the places I can never be
I can sit and dream, but tarry not,
lest I sink beneath the writer's sea
I often picture writing like sitting beneath a tree that is shedding its leaves during a windstorm. Every leaf is worthy of my attention, but their numbers all together are overwhelming. Thoughts and ideas circulate inside my head as a storm of words, pressing ever outward until I want to explode. The only antidote is to place these words on paper, hopefully in a comprehensive order, and do the best I can.
These words will soon become faces and places, events and settings by which a story can finally be told. These building blocks, as they spill forth, form into a large pile from which I can draw, stacking my little cubes in a room of white with no walls. As I build my story towers, I occasionally will find a block that does not fit.
Perhaps the block is flawed, or poorly made. This block will be recycled, tossed into the chipper and put through the process again. However, sometimes I find a block so unique that I simply can't bear to part with it. I stack this one off to the side. As time passes, I find another block that somehow fits with that odd block out, and before long, I am building a different tower.
The process repeats, my infinite room filling with various structures, entire worlds being created and abandoned as I move from tower to tower, discovering odd blocks that have no place or meaning. As the palace of my mind fills with such structures, it suddenly occurs to me that the odd blocks from before have built something that conveniently fits with those original building blocks, and entire worlds merge with one another. It could be as simple as a character merging with a story, or an entire world being consumed by a law of nature.
I find it interesting to create things with no known direction, only to discover that they fit together later. It is one of my favorite things to experience as an author.
On a completely random note, last week I was doing my homeowner duties and raking the leaves off of my front yard. It was with much regret that I scraped away the golds and the reds to make way for the bright green underneath, feeling more like a painter scraping away paint then a tired teacher who really needed to get back to his lesson plans. After raking the leaves onto my sidewalk, I ended up with a pile about a foot deep that extended almost fifteen feet down the concrete.
So I got the leaf blower. Nothing fancy, just one of those models that can be reversed to suck up the leaves and mulch them. One of my neighbor's kids, a young man of about four who loves to come visit me, was absolutely enthralled by the process of vacuuming up these little red and yellow bits. After watching me bag three loads for the trashcan, he pointed out that my "'leafsucker' looked nothing like his dad's did. Like most children, he followed up his statement with a question: Why?
"Well," I informed him, "your dad's leaf sucker will look different than mine because the whole world is full of different leafsuckers. Some are big, some are small, and some are different shapes and sizes. But that's okay, because as long as they still suck leaves, it doesn't matter if they're different."
"Oh," was his reply, and then he asked if I could stop sucking leaves and leave the mess for him to ride his bike through someday. He hung out with me for a while longer before his mother came to collect him. On their way to the door, she told him to thank me for the discussion on differences, which they hadn't really discussed with him. I stop to wave and think. In the midst of trying to answer a simple question, I had touched on something much broader than intended.
As a race, we are struck blind often enough by our own desires. We look to the immediate gratification of our near future, failing to look at the broader spectrum of our progression as a race. We often make decisions based on how much money we will make, or how much time we will save. But for what? It really doesn't matter what race, religion, or political affiliation we have, we should all be striving towards one goal: our own betterment. Atheists and Christians (for example) should focus less on arguing with each other about the ultimate fate of our immortal souls and more on how they could work together to build brighter futures for everybody. Yeah, these ideals may seem lofty, maybe even preachy, but it makes more sense for everybody to work towards a common form of happiness than to fight and argue.
It was with these thoughts that I looked at the leafsucker in my hand, and the job before me, pondering deep thoughts. In the end, it was easier for me to switch to a snow shovel, but the thought hasn't left me since.
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