How many years between the discovery of fire and its practical explanation?

Many, surely. But the number pales when compared to the interval between the discovery and understanding of imagination.

To their creators, both concepts were called magic. Fire from the gods. Imagination from the soul. Else, they were the marriage of circumstance and physics. Friction and fuel. Intention and grit. 

Why was imagination, then, for so long thought to be innate? Why was fire from outside the self and imagination from inside? Why did we call one 'other' and the other 'of ourselves'? 

When we understood, finally, what forces had been at work to run humankind's collective engine, it made sense. Of course it made sense. That didn't stop the wave of nausea that spread around the globe. 

Overnight, legislation was drafted to stall creative efforts. The measures were rejected just as quickly. The population's sympathy were with the laws' drafters, but their own practical needs came first. 

For a while, people kept right on imagining. They didn't like it. They just couldn't help it. Kink went up and a general malaise settled over most cultural epicenters. Humanity wasn't dying, but it was lapsing into a deep depression. 

We were brought back by the Bolarite. That wonderful, magical community hidden in the Everglades became the saviors of human spirit. 

We never were able to overcome our revulsion. Imagination would forever be a lewd, bent and sordid subject.

But the Bolarite taught us to love what disgusted us.

And that was enough.

Just enough.

Notes on the job search

Today I'm remembering lessons. That seems the best way to put it. I recall how just before college I was treated to a treatise on persistence that left a mark. I remember, too, clinging to that gifted pearl of wisdom when confronted by my first shocking failure: rejection from a creative writing course on the supernatural. Persona rejection, too. It had followed my submission of a writing sample, what I considered my best work, which the professor had, a week prior, summarily deposited in the "try again later" pile. At least, that's how I interpreted it.  It's likely he would have used a less sympathetic classification. When I faced his decision -- an automatic email notifying me of my disenrollment--I didn't have to think about it. I remembered that sage advice. I resolved to, with the professor's permission, show up for the course anyway. I figured I could learn from the audit. After a terse back-and-forth via email, the professor agreed, on one condition: that I understood I could not, would not, contribute in any meaningful way to the class.

I was tough as nails, I thought. No problem. I reasoned, too, that if it was all about the learning, I could even find peace in my mute observations. 

When the next class period came, the professor launched into the topic right away. I was captivated. Yet, as he talked, he pointed out similarities or connections to our reading assignment with my would-be classmates' writing samples. He only threw out bits and pieces, but what he said was impressive. What they were was impressive. I wondered, what was I?

I did not return for another class. Persistence wasn't enough to make me go.


In recalling this incident, I think that persistence would have been enough, if only I'd believed in myself. It's a hard thing to beat down that inner voice worrying my pursuits. Still, I measure some kind of progress. 

Even now, a mean inner-me plants doubt. How do I know it's not simply wishful thinking? How do I know I'll be strong enough to keep going, past and through rejection? How can I guarantee my own backbone?

I do not! But my sister's advice comes in as another pearl today. She told me, as she herself had to be told:

"stay where you are (in the moment), don't worry about the past, don't fret about the future. Just do what you're doing now, and make it count." Essentially,

I'm grateful I can count on those who care about me to add their voices to the inner-mean chorus. And knowing I have love and support no matter how many times I fail: that just might be enough to keep me going. 

Now: back to where I am.


We have another non-fiction post today, which means a fiction post will follow soon.* 

Stay tuned, dear readers!


*Fact-checking is important, dear readers. It looks like I'm shy three fiction entries! They'll be coming up this week.

No title today

There are things in life that gain importance only when we endow them with it. If we treat them casually, sometimes just once, they lose some distinction. They can never mean as much to us again.


Sex is one of these unburdened freebies. Love, too. There are others, but we shall leave each wanderer to sift the ashes of their own broken home, in search of the angels from whence all their demons spring. For us, here and now, it is sorrowful that so very many of us recognize the natural truth only once we’ve carved away at it. We sweep our own legs out from underneath us, but there is a moment of air and blissful ignorance and wonder before we land with a sharp crack against the ground.


We can stand after, but not in the same way.

Just how autonomous?

Today my sister forwarded a link about an autonomous Uber fatality (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWXqn4rg2WQ). She warned that it was just the beginning, and when she did, some neuron snapped in my mind: Asimov. I recalled a story I had read long ago by the revered Isaac Asimov, sci-fi wizard, about just such a premise. 

For those unfamiliar, the story is "Sally." I encourage anyone reading this post to read the story as well. Skipping over the larger plot points, the end of "Sally" leaves us with a single question: can a car kill? 

Asimov, ever one to lead his readers by the nose, heavily implies that the answer is yes. The question I ask readers now to consider is: how much evidence would we need to believe such a murder *intentional*?

That's it for now. Drive safe, all. 

Story One cont.

The next day, Lucy had eaten nothing but honey and apples, chewing each crunchy, juicy, crisp and sweet bite into a tired, gruelish paste before swallowing it down a chalked throat. Despite her efforts, the tinge of tartness at the back of her mind remained. 

When her husband came home, she didn't want to trouble him with her silly preoccupations...(see part three).


As long as I'm making an effort to write more fiction, I thought I'd do some cataloguing of the creative process as well.

With that in mind, having reread the first part of the story, here's how I see it playing out. It will be interesting to see if the events transpire as I've imagined them, or if the characters themselves will shift the story. 

For those betting:

Outline 1

In this story, we see the systematic, minute, and unintended emotional abuse of a marriage and a wife's loneliness compensating with an overactive imagination. 

When the pair had married, she'd been bright and colorful and layered as a sunrise. However, she'd made a point of showing certain qualities more to her husband, as society and the magazines advised. He, being the 'straight-and-narrow' type, had taken her showings as her word. He thought she was rather one-dimensional and he loved her that way (as the magazines told him to, too). As their marriage goes on, she cuts back more and more on her divertive outlets, trying to streamline her 'clean and simple' approach to life. Her husband becomes more and more involved with work and spends less time with her. 

Time passes. The couple tries to conceive and fails. In her grief, she imagines he blames her; of course, they don't discuss it. When she seeks outside activities, her husband is confused, asking why she needs to get involved with all sorts of complications. "Why muddle a clear sky with a lot of nonsense? All you're bound to get is rain."

That night she begins to dream of great thunderclouds building in her dream-skies. She dreams of them more often than not as the nights go by. She continues to sleep poorly and fuss during the nights, while during the day she seeks distractions from her past. In her search, she rediscovers people she no longer can visit, instruments she gave away and the empty corners where she once stored them, and clothes and mementos she lost track of, until she remembers the one memento she saved, hidden on a dusty shelf in the closet: her photo album. 

Flipping through the pages, she sees those things and people and hobbies and postures she has since given up. She sees herself smiling in a photo and a light behind her eyes that she hasn't noticed in years. That night she tries to show her husband the photo album, but he doesn't have time, he has work to do. Just before bed, she brings a single photo to him -- the one with the light behind her eyes. She asks if he remembers it, and he does. He tells her that particular day was so odd. She'd been acting wholly unlike herself, and it had started to rub him a bit raw. But when he booped her nose later and said he hoped she wouldn't always be this rambunctious, she'd smiled up at him, saying nothing. After that came the wedding, and she'd focused in and calmed down, so all was well, her husband tells her. He asks, Why is she bringing this up now? He kisses her head, turns away, and quickly falls asleep.

That night, again she dreams of the thunderclouds, silently rumbling and threatening. This time, however, they at last begin to rain. Erupting, they release not water droplets, but blots of colors that splash over the landscape, painting everything and making the shelterless landscape vivid, even under the shadow of the clouds. The mass above thins as the rain lets up, leaving gaps through which the sun shines. Those bits of earth that have been dyed by the rain gleam and glow, and seem to offer a little heat, warmth radiating up. She raises herself straight, looks out over the landscape, and begins to walk across the plain.