I have a big imagination that gets me in trouble with polite society. Take anything from my Enhancement Series, for example.
Upon meeting me in person, curious science fiction readers peer into my eyes with veiled horror, trying to find the psychopath inside.
They ask, how do I write this stuff? Where do I find the inspiration? The real answer: I honestly don’t know. By definition, to imagine something means to visualize beyond reality.
Now, I wasted hours and hours trying to sort through what is reality and what is, well, not reality. I prayed and meditated. I poured my heart on the page, to friends, family, coworkers, other publishing professionals, fellow writers, physicians, a neurologist, therapists, Father God, Mother Earth, the tiny baby Jesus, the Universe, and all the weeping indigenous mothers that haunt this nation. I sought understanding through a myriad of psychoactive substances including—but not limited to—any and all accessible legal alcoholic drinks in a variety of shapes, colors, flavors, strength proof, and quality. I enjoyed escapism as one might enjoy a drug, using fantasy and vice almost religiously to avoid the warped reality around me, because—quite obviously—reality bites.
Perhaps I’m alone in this struggle, although—judging from the rapid expansion of nail salons, foot spas, and liquor stores in this most wonderful state of Texas—maybe, just maybe, other people feel this same way.
But what can be done? If reality is so horrible, if we (and by “we” I mean the majority of hardworking citizens who earn a paycheck, not the spacey, freeloading philosophical-thinker-bums like myself) must work in jobs (again, not myself) we despise for our very survival, yet find the need to escape through vice, indulgence and entertainment (fantasy football, home theaters, Netflix and chill—what have you) then—and I’m going out on a limb here—then maybe, possibly, the impractical and mysterious HUMAN IMAGINATION might—oh, I don’t know—have something a tad bit useful, even INNOVATIVE, to offer?
Nah, probably not. Best to keep our noses to the grindstone and apply vodka for the painful side effects.
Except for all those flaky, mentally unstable artists out there, going around screaming things at the world as it careens off the side of a cliff.
What are the artists screaming at the edge of that cliff? Can you hear them?
Do they have sandwich boards with letters in large bold italics saying the end is near?
Come closer and listen. Can you hear them, all those thousands of voices—a hidden legion—high above the electronic static?
Do you hear these Mile High Artists, screaming so loud—even higher than the satellites?
I do. I hear them when I meditate at the park, when I’m in the zone at the keyboard. The first time I ever heard them, I became afraid. Terrified actually. Because here’s the weird thing. This legion—these ghosts, those countless deceased and tortured artists of the ages—they’re actually whispering. Quiet. Calm. Relentless, like a looped song on my #amwriting playlist.
It’s a simple message, really.
Together they whisper: “We don’t have to fall. WE CAN FLY.”
Okay, but why did this benign collective whisper frighten me? Ah, there’s the rub.
It was because of the screaming. As you can well imagine from watching movies, a screaming legion is a true American horror story. But when I actually heard them, when I stopped long enough to listen through the static, I realized something—something that made all the difference for me, personally.
The whisper of an artist becomes a scream when amplified by satellites.
What a relief, right?
(Post inspired by Ecclesiastes 2.)