In the last 24 hours, I have heard from several people who, up to the moment of their comments or favoritings or watchlist adds, I had had no idea even existed. Forgive me for this oversight.
I should have known you were there. There’s a condition we have, some worse than others, which refuses to acknowledge the great breadth of the planet – geography aside, how much greater width and depth display themselves through human contact!
Cyberspace isn’t that bad, after all. Thank you to those of you who have allowed me to join you in your art, which is that of observation and realization. You have instilled a newfound faith in me for even this less-than-immediate correspondence.
I haven’t the money for airfare, or I would try to visit those of you who cared to be visited.
Sometimes the best of us think we need to make pariahs of ourselves. Unfortunately, the exile with the most remote living space tends worst to crave a reunion with his brothers (and sisters).
Or maybe I just like the sound of that.
As I type, I keep forgetting that nobody wants to hear somebody talk over the truth, as if there might be something of greater value than a Big Gulp after running a mile. But deep down inside me, the deep parts assert that there is.
But the deep parts are inaccessible, so we must take the accessible and express little things that add up to big things.
Have you seen those composite photographs created by computers, where there is a giant picture made up of hundreds of tiny pictures? …one can only see the bigger picture if one steps back.
Well, with writing, I like to think of it similarly; details are tools to explain soul or love or death or boredom. But unlike the composite picture, I feel that writing forces study of the details rather than a “backing up for perspective”. Because the details are all we have to work with in daily life (aside from miracles and other acts of God), we people must grip these details and shake out their meaning.
And it does take shaking, I think. Details are ornery things. They don’t like to be picked up and jostled by their feet until their lunch money comes out.
The best readers are bullies to the details. The best readers mock the details until their purpose comes pouring out like embarrassed tears. The best readers hang the details from their underpants, in full view of the student body, until those details cannot bear but part with their precious truths.
I will gladly encourage you to bully the hell out of the details. Do not attempt gentleness with them; they will be coy and will reveal nothing but the slightly paler flesh that hasn’t seen the sun. They are much too modest for anything more. I do not believe I know how to make love to details.
So to you, as you discover, as you reveal, as you bully…I will apologize once again.
For I can say nothing to you to ameliorate that guilt that every bully must feel, though he might try to ignore it. Don’t ignore it. Use it. Perhaps it will become a detail itself.
One day, I will find the way to love details into being. But for now, I must take them by force. Patterns will only show themselves if they are ardently sought for. No diamond ever came through soft words, but through long and intense compression.
So it goes with writing. Compress, and be patient.
I didn’t intend for this to become a manifesto.