Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kaleidoscopic reentry

We were walking down a street, in conversation. The sun was bright and hot, yet the breeze felt nice and cool on my skin, the ideas were flowing and suddenly, like a tidal wave passing through me, I could no longer listen as I was swept away by something you said. The flow came on inside me at full-blast; it was a bit like motion sickness.

The closest reference I have for a similar experience of that rush, is a time with my first boyfriend when we had just been to the Greek Festival in Columbus, Ohio. I had drunk too much red wine, so he was driving my car. Even though he wasn’t driving fast, I was holding on tight to the car’s door and seat, cool gray imitation leather under my hot sweaty palms. The visual information was pouring in too fast, and it felt like I was being sucked into the vortex of the scene ahead. I was about to be either engulfed or obliterated, so I told him, desperately, to slow down. And when he did I felt a little better. So we drove very slowly for a while after that.

This time I wasn’t drunk, yet there was a similar perceptual effect from an idea. Behind the scenes my mental world was being reordered in a typhoon, and I just didn’t know exactly where my feet went, yet. I couldn’t quite grasp my place in this new realm I was seeing. This time I just needed to stop walking and be with the idea for a moment before we went on. I think it was just a pause where I said “wait,” and took a breath, said “wow!” or “whoa!” and “what?” And sadly, I don’t remember exactly what it was that transported me. It was something about the way writing works. I was seeing how ideas and images gather around a subject from infinity; I was seeing a relationship between writing and meditation. I was seeing the writer as having a hand in creation, and choosing the words as being almost god-like as worlds are brought into existence through the pen or laptop. And I was seeing a reader able to explore herself through another person’s words.


Kay Burnett said...

Hi Brooks--
have you ever heard the expression "language is generative"? meaning that saying a thing makes the idea exist in the world in a way that allows us to act on it and build on it. Or I've heard it said that language creates action...I was reminded of these things by your blog entry. My insights come from work by Flores described in a book called You Are What You Say. Thanks!

mayorofbucktown said...

Brooks, from the late great ethnobotanist Terrence Mckenna:

"I don't believe that the world is made of quarks or electromagnetic waves, or stars, or planets, or any of these things. I believe the world is made of language."

Kevin L. Burrows