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A Double Handful Of Coal

"Maybe I'll write two today, just to maintain my usual pace, if an additional Idea emerges."

In the beginning, there was nothing but void, and since void amounts to nothing, in the beginning there was nothing; no originating idea. Voids offer little in the way of leverage. Eventually, an Idea tottered into what had been the void's nothingness, temporarily voiding the void and leaving a sense of something in its place. Something, but nothing much more than the roughest raw material: a double handful of coal: Greater potential, yea, but little more. Few substances carry more potential and less promise than a double handful of coal, for coal, like any Idea, needs a lot of conditioning to amount to anything, and even when it amounts to something powerful, it only manages to achieve anything with great supplemental support and it leaves behind clinkers and nasty smoke; powerful perhaps for a time, but always producing nasty externalities.

Ideas seem to come in flurries when they come, if they come.
A single idea might shatter into a thousand subsequent ideas, showering shards of potential, each promising warmth but also needing some skill to prize out its fuller potential. The ones that seem like diamonds at first become the most troublesome, for they might encourage the greatest effort while also producing the least useable energy. In whatever form an idea might initially take, somebody or somebodies will need to supply some skill and good fortune to create any useful anything out of it. Most ideas never produce anything other than a warming promise before finding themselves eclipsed by one with seemingly greater potential or simply fading back into that void, becoming nothing again.

An Idea seems to emerge at the human equivalent of the quantum level, more felt sense than anything. I can feel an Idea's presence long before I can begin to describe its potential, and long before I can find a handle on it enabling me to further develop it into something. That felt sense, more emotional than intellectual, fuels my initial pursuit. A glimmer stands on a far horizon and I pursue it. Some mornings, when I encounter my intention to write something new, the void seems to offer nothing for me to pursue. I sit empty headed, staring into indeterminate space. Who ever knows where an Idea might come from? I might bump into a piece in the paper which sets my mind to wandering where I stumble upon what seems like it might prove to be a novel perspective or some semblance of an almost idea might just pop into the void, also more popularly known as my mind. Following that thread (or is that a threat?), I might, through painstaking effort and no small measure of patience, find a few words to describe that which started out as perhaps the vaguest of feelings, hardly a sensation at all.

It's always a long progression, starting somewhere, usually just where it starts, and most prominently featuring a tenaciously indeterminate end. I might grow to become fortunate enough to recognize a decent ending by the time I arrive there, but few ideas develop into anything more substantial by following a straight or particularly narrow path. Meanders seem the most prominent feature of any effort seeking to develop an Idea. Again, the Idea served as no more than an initial catalyst, a beginning motivating force. The inevitably meandering effort to develop that Idea into something more substantial seems more meaningful in the end than was the originating Idea at the beginning since that effort transformed that double handful of coal into genuine fire and smoke and clinkers.

I almost never miss a day writing anyway, each morning's more or less the same. First, a search for an Idea, even though I understand that any search for any Idea amounts to an unpromising distraction. Ideas visit indifferent to the bidding, most often simply bubbling up from some surprising no place. I'm learning to just grab one and go without waiting around to know whether or not it might actually propel me anywhere. If it looks like coal and smells like coal and hefts like coal, that's all I really need to know to get going. I just get going to discover where that latest double handful might take me or, more probably, where I'll end up schlepping that double handful to. Some mornings I plead fruitlessly for any Idea to present itself. Other mornings, I'm beset with far too many to manage. This morning stretched through the long snowy day, finally coalescing about the time I needed to engage in my later afternoon routines, so I never got back to finishing it up by the end of the day. I'll time stamp it for the moment the first glimmer appeared without registering that an outcome manifested almost a full day later. Maybe I'll write two pieces today, just to maintain my usual pace, if an additional Idea emerges.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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