Monday, February 2, 2015

making stuff up


As fiercely feminine as a long-tailed cat, inching nearer, belly to the earth....

Smooth and assured as the cue ball rolling across green felt....

Scudding off the rooftops like some fractured whipped cream....

I watch this morning's snowstorm and rush to light the narrative fuses, one by one, as if the storm were not enough, as if there were dots to connect and I were the just the self-involved magician to connect them.

I chalk it up to story-telling karma, another sounds-good bit of explanation, as if explanation could explain a snowstorm or a life. I do love stories and hence am more or less content to tell the lies that come to hand.

It's just a snowstorm of course, but still I need fix it, to plump it up like some pillow that could be made 'more' comfortable. True, stories interest me more than TV,  but sometimes it strikes me as a strange imperative ... so second-hand and yet not second-hand at all.

"Everything touches everything else" ... don't be fatuous! Wisdom is for nitwits.

I am a nitwit. Making stuff up is what I do. Is that really such a big deal?

The Hindus have the tale of a tinker who comes to town with a vat slung over his shoulder. He sets the vat in the middle of the town square and invites villagers to bring their new-woven cloth and he will dye it for them. The villagers line up.

The first villager says he would like his cloth "blue." The tinker lowers the cloth into the vat and out it comes, "blue." The next woman longs for "red." Into the the same vat the produced "blue" goes her bolt ... and out it comes, "red." And so it goes, down the line of villagers -- each expressing a preference and each having the preference met out of the same vat.

Finally, there is only one man left. He steps forward and says to the tinker, "I would like my cloth to be the color of what is in the vat."

I always loved the Hindu tableau. It seemed to have lived long enough to know that a furrowed brow and fierce determination could not really hold a candle to the stories that came with a smile of recognition, a bit of laughter, and an unfreighted message. Accessible. Hinduism seemed old enough to ply its trade without the laurels. It seemed to have lived long enough to be a grown-up: Just because there is no story is no reason not to tell a story.

Or anyway, that's the color of my cloth.

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