Friday, August 31

Still Sits the Muse No More...Like a Frayed Fiddler, No More... 

What, one might wonder, could someone write about being nowhere. Unhinged doors flog you in the face as you walk farther and farther into this unfathomable expanse of nothingness. There are no signs, no mileposts, and worse, no speed limits. And accidents, if any, could happen by running into discolored, jagged-edged flashback frames, and the spasms will come from knowing that they harbor little or no nostalgia.

Sitting at my desk, however, I manage to recall some snapshots of note that have hit me lately - an Indian woman, Nimisha Tiwari, who killed herself and her two children by dousing their bedroom with gasoline and lighting it on fire; the lesbian priest, Tracey Lind, who made the list for the Episcopal bishop of Chicago; a teenaged, Indian-American boy, Ian Iyengar, who makes musical instruments from recyclable items, makes music for audiences, and donates all proceeds to charities; a City Council committee that advanced legislation allowing dogs in outdoor cafes (although the luxury is soon going to be stolen by fierce Fall winds and the wonder that is Windy City winter); and so forth. Some utterly disturbing, some that elicit a smile, and generally, a strip of headlines that simply march past one’s groping eyes and dissolve into the seemingly multichrome depths of a flickering screen.

Somewhere in the background, the words – “Can one person change the world?” – hound me. What could I possibly do? I begin to ponder if there is a set of rules somewhere in the ribbed folds of the active gorgeous go-greens, and going by the rigidity it must entail, I wonder whether picking up litter, and trying to recycle as much as one possibly can meets a part of the hoi deka logoi. But there must only be this much an army of one can accomplish, I shrug, and move on in my mottled span of cognitive dissonance.

Then I recollect a full moon night - somewhere under the silvery skies, a fatigued mother feeds her chipper child concocted nighttime stories with supper, little peals of laughter crumble into the air…but these grudging glimpses soon wane away, leaving me with a sense of heavyhearted trance. The coherence in my stuporous mind, if any, is evinced by this unintended stroll through a deserted memory lane - one that reminds me that stories, as have been for ages, can simply be woven around the most prosaic of things - a dimmet sky, the faces of characters penciled out of amorphous clouds, and their shuffling movements chased, for dialogues. I realize there’s a story waiting to be discovered everywhere, even in the middle of being torn between different places and times. If every sky, turn of season, change in direction were a “ba,” like Nonaka and Takeuchi refer to as a notion for providing a space for the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge forms, then one could tap into these everyday pockets, and allow new discoveries and realizations to coalesce with what they offer, and build stories around them.

I fluff up my cushions, unruffle my feelings, and in an imaginary, hazy distance, while an ancient basswood guitar is strumming the blues, with the mesmerizing strains of “Sweet Home Chicago…” drifting in the air, I realize that my thoughts are home, even if I feel like an aimless drifter mostly.

What, one might wonder, could someone write about being nowhere? About being steeped in nothingness…when inspiration has gone on a Spartan diet…and when, as if creativity doesn’t thrive ably on eccentricity, it craves to subsist on insanity…? All it takes is for a distant memory, like a spark, to happen by. And stories suddenly ignite an unlit mind, where the Muse once sat still…and words, like thunder-triggered raindrops, start to fall. Freely.