I took a class in Abnormal Psychology this last semester. Had to take one elective outside the standard curriculum to advance to the next semester, and Abnormal Psychology was available as an option. So I took it, thinking it would be an interesting course to take. ‘Twas. Bumped into a few old acquaintances on the pages of that textbook. My final assignment was to submit a paper where I wax psychiatric about the biological horror masterpiece that is David Cronenberg’s The Fly. The professor would’ve accepted any memorable villain or antihero from a movie, so I opted to go all Sigmund Freud on the eponymous insect-human hybrid, on the assumption that Hannibal Lecter, Michael Corleone and Darth Vader would be done to death. Best homework assignment ever. Reminiscent of Grade 10 science, except I verbally dissected a Brundlefly. But why in the blazes doesn’t Disney+ have the sequel?
A famous Zen master (can’t remember if it was Thich Nhat Hahn or not, but it most likely wasn’t) once described the Twitterverse (or something similar to it; the abnormal behaviour found on social media actually predates it by millennia) as an ocean full of gasoline. A collective monkey mind which the smallest spark will cause to violently explode. My former boss possessed such a monkey mind. I once casually described it in such terms to the executive assistant du jour. When the boss found out what I said, she went right ahead and proved my point in plain view of me, completely failing to notice I had proven it. How could she notice? She never had the beginner’s mind to notice such things. From her perspective, she was the stable genius who was always right, and I was always wrong. Because she went to Harvard, and I didn’t. The executive assistant (who also didn’t go to Harvard) quit in disgust a few weeks later upon realizing I was right.
Years later, she who attained Eternal and Everlasting Rightness during her time at Harvard went wrong. Very wrong. As in, attempted murder wrong. Going insane and stabbing a dude doesn’t fit any definition of Rightness that either I or the Crown are aware of. A couple of weeks before The Incident, she spoke to me on the phone. One final time. With a tone of voice that sounded very loving and motherly, she told me I had a “brilliant mind” and that she was proud of me. Make of that whatever you will. For me, it felt like a Luke-unmasking-Vader moment with a faint tinge of Lovecraft to it…
Since I obviously have plenty of practical experience dealing with monkey minds, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about channeling their energy towards more beneficial ends. In many ways, the outrage culture makes the Sea of Tweet ideal waters for the maiden voyages of new chapters. If a creative work of any sort can survive a perilous trek across the great ocean of gasoline, then she’s seaworthy and can be brought to port.
Chapters Five and Six of SILVER BROWN have had their maiden voyages already. Not only were there no devastating explosions to speak of, but I actually got some positive feedback to boot. Having passed the first test, these chapters shall now be archived at a rate of one page a day. On a platform with a significantly less restrictive character limit, allowing for the massive herds of happy-clappy types native to the area to pen their famously impassioned rants detailing why this author is assured of eternal damnation. In either title case or all caps. With the mandatory quota of at least three Biblical citations and a non sequitur reference to some “socialist” politician that apparently ruined their life. That platform being the Zuckerberg Tabernacle, of course. A late show is presently afoot there, for the benefit of those who missed the early show. Click or tap on Zuck’s head below to watch. The price of admission is your soul. Because it’s Facebook.
Due to its potency, and the bevy of perils that could possibly be wrought from its misuse, methinks written prose should ideally be allowed time to breathe prior to consumption. Like a bottle of wine. Or this guy’s brain. Take your pick.
Specifically, it is foolhardy to publicize a written work on the same day it was composed. You have to sleep on it at least once before entertaining any vague notion of letting somebody else read it. At the (very unfortunate) risk of sounding like your mama, a good night’s rest assists both the body and the mind to purge themselves of waste. Which is kind of important. After a good mindshitting, you’re a new (wo)man. You can approach your work with a clearer conscience. This is something my crazy boss never understood. The one with the magna cum laude degree from Harvard who went insane and stabbed a dude. Sleep was taboo to her. She could never be bothered to excrete her own mindshit because she was too busy running the world, and eventually found herself with a massive pulsating backlog of that ectoplasmic goop which ruptured all over the news.
The work itself likewise needs time to sit and rest periodically. Sometimes the best thing to do with a project is put it off to the side and not fuck with it for a while. Just let it age, like Kentucky bourbon. A quote that’s stuck with me for many years is that enlightenment is like a cat. If you chase after it, it will run from you. But if you remain still and free your mind of expectations, the cat will jump right into your lap. It’s good that I can just allow the cats to come to me now, after many years of working for somebody who was always insistent on chasing them (and extremely hostile towards any suggestion that chasing them might not be the best way to go). One of those cats just told me to leak more information about the nature of the Environment in the chapter I’m editing now. But not too much.