Writers are from Mars, Readers are from Mars too.

 

You were expecting Venus? So that’s where you are; I should have known.

The following is a compendium of musings on the balance of reader and writer, teetering on the fulcrum of creativity.

*****

A creationist take on the theory of revolution.

First there was dirt, and God yawned and said nothing, for even He could look within Himself and know that there must be more out there than this.

He paced back and forth across the universe, rolling a piece of lint in his pocket into an immense idea.

Then “God Shuffled His Feet,” and  kicked up a spark from the floor of heaven, sending a lightening bolt into a puddle of primordial ooze, squeezed from a giant rock.  He looked into the elixir of life, the original ground zero, and saw that it was good… so He rested.

In the pre-dawn of time, stuff began growing and crawling onto land, followed by some monkeys who serendipitously learned to fling their dung against rocks with great deft and expression (it’s always about monkeys). And then some of them stood erect and walked into the evolution of Homo Sapiens Scriptoricus (Human Writer) and Homo Sapiens Lectoricus (Human Reader).

That writers ever crawled out of the ground, is an event that overcomes astronomical odds. Imagine the frustration of the first human writer, of knowing that he does not have words to convey what he feels, senses, fears, loves, or loathes.

Even today, many Homo Sapiens still relate to that feeling of wanting to share, but having no sense of what sharing means or takes to accomplish.

God really knows His shit. But God didn’t make it easy — we are all still evolving as creators… and He keeps jumping up shouting, “Oh, oh, write about Me, write about Me!”

And we did… and now we get married because of it, and we feel guilty because of it, and we annihilate cultures because of it – and then something happened.

Lectoricus began realizing that she needed to break from the descending progression by writing herself in a new direction.  Now it seems like just about anyone with opposable thumbs can tap out a creative writing piece. Yep – God does know His shit.

Evolution is a natural inability to accept the conditions of our limitations. But revolution, ah, revolution changes the conditions so there are no limitations. One need only to muse for a moment at the potential of what has yet to be created, and in that moment, creation manifests.

Let’s say, and I’m just saying, that evolution applies to a writer. Our hearts will one day turn to parchment, our blood to ink. The letters on the keyboard will fade in synchrony with the march of time, and our thoughts will drip tears into the black well of the soul.

A writer’s composition is her footprint through time… traces of heel-to-toe, dancing through the archaeological record like notes on a scale.

Her nimble steps and surefooted gate, prancing along the azimuth of passion; providing the artifacts on where she’s been within herself, the predators she evaded, and from which watering holes it was safe to sip.

 

{Photo: Robert Doisneau}

Writers are from Venus, Readers are from Mars.

An irritated friend noticed my pensive distance and snapped,

“…were you listening to anything I just said?!”

I thought about this for a moment and replied crisply and with honesty,

“No — no, I wasn’t.  I was listening to what I heard.”

To know a writer through his writing is not necessarily the same as understanding what he has written. The dilemma of this writer is whether to sing to your weaknesses or strengths; to play upon your dreams or to lure you into mine.

In seeking to know another, the Venusian writer and the Marian reader should begin with what they seek to observe within themselves.

“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote.” ~ E.M. Forster

The planet rotates about the spine of a book while the universe expands from the Archimedean point. To get closer to the source of expression means opening yourself up to the sensations of its symptoms – the transformation happens at the precise moment the cause becomes the effect.

The identity of the reader emerges through creative conjecture and destiny is fulfilled when self-discovery within the Venusian manifest through the creative clues of the Martian.

For Earthlings: the writer – lightening; the reader – lightening rod; the planet — energy.

The feeling of writing is akin to that of making love to the mind and heart of the reader – it’s this unfettered giving that feeds the ego, the id, and libido.

Mental foreplay will become the distinguishing characteristic of the writer species as palpating fingers play on the flesh of still and silent creatures – until they leap, from repose to rebellion on a steed of words… echoing within our bodies, not fading off the pages.

 

 

Archaeology:  unearthing the truth.

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.” ~ Henry Miller

The geological law of original horizontality will be up-righted by the humming glow of phosphor and liquid crystal – millions of computers en echelon pitted and weathered by the ideas of so many unleashed minds.

Impressions and casts, etchings and primitives, potshards of jagged broken ideas buried in situ where overflowing urns were emptied into the bellies of despondent artists and left behind as they maundered off in their besotted dreams.

Reading disassembles the coils of love laid sweetly by poet and plume. With our shovel, pick, and brush, we clear away the dust and detritus of entombed poems.

With the turning of pages, the lids of the sarcophagi are cracked open to the musty gasps of revelations — page one, see me; page two, feel me;  page three, love me; page four, let me go; and so on back to darkness. The turning of the page chases the ink to the next.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”  ~ Mark Twain

The inconceivable truth shifts in the shadows along the artist’s path; snapping twigs in the darkness. There in the absence of light, a writer learns to tell lies of the stories they’ve lived, until they begin to live the stories they tell. In the end, the reader finds out that only dead writers write the truth.

I need to feel the predator eyes of the writer upon me, catch the flash of teeth that bite teasingly into her lower lip, recoil from her dripping tongue and the tensioning of her haunches, then the rise of her hips an instant before sharp words spring upon my senses.

Ink is blood. The voracious readers slice their fingers on the paper-thin edge truth, and fiction is salt pressed into the open wounds of fact.

As for my wounds — when I hand you the rose of honesty, please be aware of the thorns. I’ve already pricked my hands many times carrying it around on my own.

A writer’s pen is the scythe that emblazons the sinuous trails between origins and destinations that are as unique as the traveler – it’s the turn in the path, not just the soil beneath the feet.

Fear not that you’ll read your next great idea somewhere else, before you’ve had a chance to find it within yourself; there is less treasure left by the others in the ground behind us worth carrying, than there is our own treasures we’ve yet to bury.

My gift at mid-life was received when I dropped a palette of gold that I pulled from the earth to catch a single white feather that fell toward me from the sky. The gold was intended to pave the trail from whence I came, the feather, to be dipped in an inkwell so I might author the direction I should go.

 

Choose your medium.

When we are through with the pounding pursuit of our myopic objectives, and the chisels of tactics are worn down to nothing but pitted dull stumps, we will find we have created a tall berm of talus and dust between us and the truth, but there stands the “fruits” of our labor nonetheless.

A true artist can look at a block of marble and know the truth form within it before the chisel is ever set and struck.

Writing is art, and it is especially interested in destructive approaches to building castles of catharsis – it resonates from a dull hum to vibrating harmonics that disintegrate the matrix paralyzing the verve of imagination.

The cement-layer constructs the “forms” with his mind, and then pours the cement. He textures it with stones of syncopation and sounds, cobles of consonance, and grains of alliteration. He writes an entire sidewalk…for pedestrians to read.  The words may be the cobbles in the cement, but the magic is in the matrix.

In music, it’s rhythm and melody, adorning the words, which resonate with listeners on a very deep and subconscious level.  Some hear music, some write notes, some read lyrics.

Westerners culturally hear music different than easterners. The scale goes from monkey poop to honeysuckle. Melody and harmony are a blend of unique notes that are untainted and parochial-ized by customs and dogma and codicils of culture (which impacts words and meaning).

Writing also is best when it doesn’t rely on language. Hard to explain but so is the musical scale.

Writing is tricky. It’s what the words don’t say, that gives freedom to the creative machinations of the reader. Left to only to the vocabulary of the reader, even armed with a dictionary or synonym finder, there’d be no such thing as great writing.

 

Hey, “creation happens!”

“The creative adult is the child who survived.” ~ Sun Gazing

Of this quote, a loving friend wrote, “Think about it; the most creative moments of your adult life were the moments you allowed the child in you to play.”

Sad how growing older often becomes the smothering of the innocent innovator; we are compelled to protect what’s within us by never letting it out.

Through the course of adulthood, the surface of childhood is wounded and scarred, like tree bark around the sapling; well intended… but ill begotten in the end. And then one day, we’re so numb that we can’t remember what we dreamt the night before. We should hang on to these moments of our youth, for they become the trusted handholds and firm footing for many a slippery slope as we cross into our later years.

Creativity is the uncloaking of passion that is otherwise imprisoned by the broad black lines in our coloring books, with the grown-up instruction, “shush now, and color within the lines.”

I’m reminded of a picture from Kent State during the war protest — a college student is placing the stem of a flower in the barrel of a national guardsman’s rifle. Images like this are misconstrued as spittle against an institution wall, rather than acts of creativity, passion, and love.

The world can only be saved by the minds of adults and the hearts of children. Of all the animal kingdom, the only species to not evolve is the child within a adult. It is a misprint in the recipe for man, but one that is serendipitously delicious for mankind.

Tomorrow I will imagine the conference table as a sandbox, our coffee cups as pails, and my colleagues as playmates.

 

You can go fly a kite or go to hell, just be getting somewhere.

She who flies the kite should not fear he who snips the string. But both will gasp at frame and sail — careening off on the winds of malcontent, gusts of rapture, cyclones of confusion, and eddies of pain.

The impish voyeur and bon vivant twisted in the sheets, moaning from within the cave of literary fornication – beautiful revolutionaries in contrapposto.

I’ve picked up many a stone, etched with words of encouragement…but none so fulfilling to me as those I’ve scribed and thrown into the wild. I’m just a reluctant angel with ten unruly typing fingers who apparently conspire with the warped underworld of my mind to snuff the lanterns at Dantes door.

“… All the love in the world we need, can be fit on the tip of a pen.  More than the bounty of earth, sea, and sky, it’s ink that gets under our skin…”  
~ Lovely Dreaming Foxes (who, you ask?)

 

 *****

 

 

More Martians: 

>> Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Essentials for a Short Story.

>> Jack Kerouac’s 30 Keys to Life & Writing.

>> Henry Miller’s 11 commandments for the everyday writer.

 

 

 

{There’s ink under your skin.}

 

Skip Maselli

Skip Maselli

Skip, like you, is the conception of a pure thought, one that is wrought from impurities embedded in the dull hum of the mind. Art is the abstraction. Actually, his name is Art. His occupation is proxy for anything he’s supposed to be doing. An earthbound western citizen, but if your heart was a dartboard, he’d be that gnarly feather-tailed dart stuck in a familiar place. Traveled a bit, prefers prodigal journeys into the unattended corners of the mind, without a transit for navigation or sack for plundering. He enjoys a good read or anything that might hasten destiny between a friend and himself. You can visit Skip's blog at Phosporimental.
Skip Maselli

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