Life in the Multiverse

Monday, January 3, 2011

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Here we are, on the very first days of 2011.  How is it finding you?  Do you feel any different?  It's kind of like a birthday, the start of a new year - you think you'll feel older, somehow, maybe wiser or stronger or mysteriously "new," but you usually don't.  This year, however, seems to be delivering a marked "something different."  Standing on this edge, I find myself thinking deeper, feeling freer, embracing harder.  Everything feels like a possibility, like hope.  And yet, the ghosts hover ever closer.

I decided to give Notes from a Sentient a face lift for the new year - something to better reflect this new frame of mind.  Do you like it?  I'm satisfied with my choice.  It's brighter, more colorful and dynamic, and it has my tree.  Yes, that one, over there - the one without any leaves, like a thing standing between worlds, between the living and dead, between the real and the imaginary, and do we really know on which side we reside?  It's a question worth pondering.  I do it all the time.  

There are lots of things I wanted to talk to you about.  With the constant babble of New Year's resolutions flying around, I thought I might talk about addiction and breaking bad habits (from my own personal perspective, since that's all any of us really has), but that's another post.  This one will have to be about writing - not the how but the why.  Why writing instead of habit-breaking, as would be so much more apropos for this time of year? Because that's where my head is at.  Sorry for the abrupt change in subject and the misplaced preposition, but that's just how it is tonight.  It's all I can do.

I was driving and thinking earlier, pondering my story, the one I've been working on, off and on, for too long now - the one that just won't shut up, never goes away, but never seems any easier to write, for all of that.  My son's head was stuck in his new manga book and a long, dark highway stretched out before me, the radio muttering just loud enough to know what song was playing, but low enough to become background noise to my thoughts.  I went away, snagged again by that other realm. (It's so close to this one, it's almost an overlay - like a nearly imperceptible caul.)

This novel won't let me be.  I've tried writing other things when I get exasperated and feel stuck with the plot, but I can't seem to get into anything else.  I think this is my Big Story - not Big in a NY Times Best Seller List kind of way, but Big in a this will gnaw at you until it's written, until it's done, kind of way.  What's funny is that it's not even the most personal story I intend to write.  That story is down the road a bit (the irony of this statement is something most of you will never get).  But this one is telling me to write, poking and prodding and whispering incessantly.  

I believe most people are like that tree (yes, that one up there), existing between worlds.  We are alive, but we're dying even as we live, will be dead some day, and weren't alive (does that mean we were dead, or simply did not exist?) before we were born.  We can be conscious, yet our mind, our attention, can be in two places (or more) at once.  We could be driving a car, for example, down a dark strip of highway while simultaneously seeing and experiencing somewhere else, another world, one that could be a memory but is more likely a figment of our quite considerable imaginations.  And this imaginative place where ideas and dreams and stories and paintings and songs come from is also a place divided, existing in and from different realms.  Our imaginations, our stories, seem to be part past experience, part anticipated future, part hopes and fears, and part the out-of-nowhere-from-nothingness that gives rise to those thoughts and ideas which we can't explain.  Not comfortably, at least.  

I think this is a piece of the puzzle, one of the core reasons why we create, why, if we are writers, we write.  (Of course, if you're a painter or an architect or a musician, you create in those way - I think it all comes to the same.)  Because these worlds, all of these realities we exist in, must be paid homage to, must be expressed.

Do you ever feel that way?  As if some fictional character, some moment in your mind, some feeling or glimmer of insight, is going to push against the confines of your being until it finally gets out?  Some people say, "I felt like I would just burst if I didn't get it all out!"  

It is like that, isn't it?  Like a living entity trying to be hatched or freed.  We, their surrogates or their creators (the jury is still out on that one), we don't have any choice, do we?  

Mmm... (as one thought leads to another) but we do, don't we?    We have a choice.  We can ignore the imagination, the other realms that are speaking to us.  We can pretend we don't hear the voices, don't see the vision.  But we know what that means.  It means the death of the soul.  Art is self preservation.  It is the soul's struggle for survival - the only sustenance there is, the only chance.  The only difference between we, the creative people of the world, and those that don't seek a creative outlet, is that we understand this one simple fact.  Art is life.  Anything else is suicide.  Or voluntary zombieism - and when it comes down to that, is there really any difference?


GingerGirl said...

Imagining...creating...birthing a is a long and painful endeavor. Some have stories of their labor that are umimaginably brief and free of pain. (Hard to imagine as I cry, wail, and writh through my own labor...trying to birth my own story.) May the Fates grant you many a long drive, with many a fruitful epiphany as you navigate the dark roads that we each must drive. And when the story, at last, comes to light, I will hold your hand, and wipe your brow. I hear that some even forget the pain enough that they are ripe with a second story before they know it. Imagine.

firespark said...

My Story Midwife. What would I do without you? I'm sure I'd be convinced of my own insanity, if I didn't see you in the throes of that madness, too. :)

rusk said...

Love the overhaul. And the post. In the beginning of Spirit's 12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, Spock opines to Kirk: "Perhaps, in another reality, we could have been friends." Follow the road, for it unwinds before us all. Looking forward to the stories.

Sarah Franz-Wichlacz said...

"Art is life. Anything else is suicide. Or voluntary zombieism - and when it comes down to that, is there really any difference?"
this, my dear is really it, isn't it?

tapping in, merging the worlds, helping things become, and thus becoming ourselves..... the seemingly dead tree- tree of the dead, the worlds-tree.... yggdrassil speaks and i can't help but listen.

firespark said...

Aw, thanks, Rusk! :)

And, my Sarah - yes, yes, yes! That's it, exactly! Merging the worlds... yes, indeed.

Megan said...

"Life beats down and crushes the soul, but art reminds us that we have one."
This post is perfect. Without art, there wouldn't be life. I'm so glad I read this. I'm feeling inspired!

firespark said...

Aw, thanks, Megan! There's no better compliment than that. :)