I mean, really, where do the stories come from?
The line that stuck in my fur was, "Retirement is a time when the definitions start to crumble." Not that it was a line that might stick in everyone's coat -- others have their own burrs to cope with -- but it was one that stuck in mine and demanded attention and tugging and shaping and smoothing. The line brought some excitement of attention -- the kind of attention that I knew would require me to expand it and hang tinsel on it. I knew the warning signs and here they were again.
The upshot was that I came back inside and wrote a short piece about retirement and shipped it off to the editor of the local paper, offering it as a possible oped or magazine filler. Strangely, in my mind, he wrote back on the same day I had sent it (Sunday), saying he would find a home for it. Since the newspaper doesn't pay anything outside bragging rights, I guess there is nothing much to crow about, but I have sent in other things that were not used at all ... which meant that my little story had some resonance with someone. Besides the ego-stroke, there is something nice about finding that my jigsaw-puzzle offerings fit in someone else's jigsaw puzzle. You can never tell what is going to 'fit' for whom, but when it does 'fit' from time to time ... well, that's fun.
So ... with that situation wrapped up, so to speak -- with the story written and accepted and the burr removed -- there was time to get on to some other story ... as, for example, "where do the stories come from?"
The answers jostle and wait their turn like a line in an unemployment office, each one with a story to tell, each one begging the question they claim to answer, each one chasing its tail like some demented Collie.
"It comes out of your experience," says one, unembarrassed by the fact that experience seems to be little more than a concocted story. "Storehouse consciousness or arising circumstances or cause-and-effect," a Buddhist or two might might offer ... as if they had found a definitive on-off switch in a darkened room and of course their answers truly answered. "It comes from God," says a Christian willing to take a swing at it. "Beyond the wind," perhaps ... but where is that?
For those answers that arrive with a smile on their faces, I smile as well. For those that arrive all bearded and scowly-faced and puffed up with assured solemnity, I can't help it: "Go fuck yourself!" explodes some magma-like certainty.
Where do the stories come from?
I mean really -- where do the stories come from?
In high school where young men brag loudly as a means of covering some nagging uncertainty, there used to be an expression (it's time for the tender-hearted and easily-offended and the politically-correct to stop reading) that one male might use to describe his oh-so-kool approach to women and sex and all that other confusing stuff when speaking with comrades: "Find 'em, feel 'em, fuck 'em, 'forget 'em!"
And that's probably as good as it gets when it comes to the stories I have loved so long ... the burrs that caught in my fur and begged for a well-groomed attention: Find 'em, feel 'em, fuck 'em, forget 'em!
Nobody asks where a chocolate-chip cookie came from. They just eat it.
Saying I know is not quite the truth and saying I don't know is somehow equally fabricated.