writing off the edge of the known world

I get confused thinking about atoms, molecules, cells, space. I set my giant cell-full foot on the fuzz of growing things on this giant rock that reveals itself on the edges and slides as slitting as slate and colorful, blood red, sea green, cloud blue. The snarl of bunched greenery with reds and pale berries-to-be and the sproing of it after I’ve stepped onward counterpoint the kachunk of a wave blasting into a fissure. In the distance what seem to be grand white ships are icebergs. On the horizon what seem to be gray icebergs are low lying cloud formations, now stately, now like a guy waving, now like two arms making monster claw forms like I do when I’m trying to scare small children. What are we? Solids, liquids, in motion, stuck, big, minuscule, gone — or, as we are matter, not entirely. Icebergs are not salty, as they’re made of snow and ice formed from rain coming down. I’ve forgotten where the salt goes when the ocean condenses. I tire of the things I don’t understand. I only feel better when I begin to understand what I don’t know. It’s what I don’t know I don’t know that scares me. Monster claws monster claws. I think about the table of elements. What are they again? Building blocks of stars and me and my milkshake. Things are not what they seem. I saw an exhibit of how the high promontory I’m looking at was formed of ancient pressure, two land masses shoving shoving. Now little is left of them. Rubble, some relatively small islands that are being elbowed by the sea. It’s not just change I’m talking about but the actual shifting nature of all things. Shifty nature. Look away for a minute and nothing is there. Or nothing was there all along. The space of not-knowing is a vital starting point for writing. My last post mentioned memoir. I think what trips up would-be memoirists or personal-essayists is that they (we) think because it’s their life, they know what they’re talking about. But they may only know the timelines, the linear course of “what happened.” The powerful starting place is why, or so what, or and what do I make of all this? The large and small of life, the spaces, they are the stuff of life, but only as waves are the stuff of ocean. It’s the patterns of salt stains left by the spray that we’re after.

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2 thoughts on “writing off the edge of the known world

  1. You write, “I think what trips up would-be memoirists or personal-essayists is that they (we) think because it’s their life, they know what they’re talking about.” Brilliant! i.e. full of light from darkness. Oh how I like how you write, full of questions, stumbles, resting places, and more questions.

    Like

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