Go Down the Rabbit Hole: A Writer’s Manifesto

Alice in Wonderland: falling cards

Alice in Wonderland: falling cards

“You are the work. The work is you: both an articulation of the self and a possibility for self-reflection. “

Writing for Digital Media

1. You are the work. The work is you: both an articulation of the self and a possibility for self-reflection. Be honest in creation: allow yourself to bleed into the work, but also allow it to work on you. Your work can show you things: illuminate and clarify your own thoughts, motivations, actions. If you do it right, you will find the work changing you, too.

2. Thinking is process. Laying on the floor. Sitting on park benches. Getting lost on purpose. These are all working. Learn the difference between mindless distraction and mindful wandering.

3. Go down the rabbit hole. Sometimes the work isn’t about what you think it is. Allow yourself to get lost down alleyways, to follow a train of thought around a corner. Don’t feel you need to reign yourself in. Too much focus squeezes all the possibility for revelation out of the work.

4. Fear…

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Petrichor: the smell of rain

rainy day in Cuba (08 August 2011)

rainy day in Cuba (08 August 2011)

A writer – and, I believe, generally all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art. (Jorge Luis Borges)

The sinews and ligaments of this post – its interconnections, if you prefer – are somewhat tenuous. (Our ability to stay alive is tenuous.) There is no great need for the reader to make any real effort to fathom any of it.

Jorge Luis Borges: an Argentine writer of (among other things) short stories “interconnected by common themes such as dreams, labyrinths, libraries, mirrors, animals, fictional writers, philosophy, religion and God.” (Wikipedia: Jorge Luis Borges)

According to Bella Jozef, his work embraces the “character of unreality in all literature”. (Wikipedia: Jorge Luis Borges)

The image was shot in Cuba Mall, Wellington, in the last month of winter 2011. The word “petrichor” refers to the smell of rain on dry ground. The word derives from two Greek words: “petra” = stone; “ichor” = the blood of gods and goddesses (from a video titled 48 things you didn’t know had names on mentafloss.com).

Storm of thoughts

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one’s head. (Mark Twain)

other (15 Dec 2011)

other (15 Dec 2011)

According to the old Zen koān, things are not as they seem … (But wait, there’s more!) Nor are they otherwise.

Public media bring us news of all sorts of things. And we eat it all up avidly.

More often than not, however, the news is not so much a summary of facts as a report of reactions and opinions: shock, horror, outrage, hatred, fear, hysteria, grief, etc.

Truly, I see the world not as it is but as I am.

“Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” (Aldous Huxley)

Our reality is compounded of thoughts and feelings, judgments and perceptions. The news is a mirror in which we can see our storm of thoughts reflected.

“If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.” (Aldous Huxley)

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” (Mark Twain)

Continuum

Gradually

          out of the silence 
          a murmur
          out of the darkness
          a glimmer 
          out of the murmuring
          a voice — my voice

and the shuffling swaying dance
          continues

and the murmured measured chant
          continues

Gradually

          between my outstretched hands

          a swirling nest of fragrant smoke
          a glowing web — first morning light on spider-silk
          a glittering orb of gold and silver flakes

and the shuffling swaying dance
          continues

and the murmured measured chant
          continues

and the pulsing glittering fire
          continues

Gradually

          out of the fiery web
          flakes fall

and the fallen flakes form
          faces          flowers          animals          trees 

and the sweepers come
          and sweep away the dusty flakes

and the sweet smoke swirls

and the images dissolve in dust

and a voice within me says:
Make no attempt
to grasp or hold this light

and the fire
          continues

and the dance
          continues

and the chant
          continues

and the sweeping …

__________
This draft for a new poem was written following a recent dream.

Layer upon layer

layer upon layer (22 Apr 2011)

layer upon layer (22 Apr 2011)

.

.

Sometimes, a hasty search for a suitable quote dredges up nothing new … at other times, the process seems powered by sprites and pixies.

I wanted a quick quote to sit alongside this strange image. Here’s what I found: “Layer upon layer make your mark now … Haste!” And it came from the unlikeliest source: a page labelled “Time Mage — Final Fantasy Tactics Job Classes — Caves of Narshe”.

Everything cascades forth

Here was the metaphor Stern had found so compelling. It resonated with modern cosmology: pull a linchpin from primordial symmetry and everything cascades forth: quarks, leptons, atomic nuclei, stars, eventually kittens, dung beetles, physicists.” (Robert Charles Wilson, in Mysterium)

__________
Wilson, Robert Charles. [Copyright 1994 by Robert Charles Wilson. Boston: Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc.] 2010. Mysterium. New York: An Orb Book published by Tom Douherty Associates LLC [p315]