Underwater

Dear Blog,

I know, I know. And I’m sorry. I’ve been ignoring you, ignoring my commitment to the daily practice of poetry (was I completely mad for deciding to do that? Probably.), ignoring my commitment to engaging with Ideas (or, in other words, being Uppity, Bombastic, and Generally Annoying) and ignoring my insistance on gathering little bits of bright paper and pinning them against the sky.

(because, in the end, that’s what a blog is, right? Things gathered, things assembled, things roughly made. Like an automaton made of soda cans or a rendering of the Venus de Milo made of used wrapping paper and ribbon and tin foil. A blog is a wobbly thing, insubstantial, ephemeral, as permanent as smoke.)

If it’s any consolation, it’s not just you that I’m ignoring, dear blog. You should see my house. It’s a freaking mess. And I haven’t washed my son’s hair in about a week. (Of course, that is also due to the fact that he is very, very fast.)

But soon, I will crawl out from under the weight of this next revision, and soon I will feel happy (mostly) about the work that I’ve done, and soon I will breathe the sighs of the innocent and sleep the sleep of the blest.

I took this bit out of the book:

They say that an entire universe lives inside of the tear of a dragon, and, if you had eyes to see it, a close examination would reveal endless space, burning suns, spinning planets, and huge civilizations rising from the dust and vanishing into the ether in the time it takes for the tear to well, spill and evaporate.

Did my world originate in the tear of a dragon?

Did yours?

But I’m sorry to see it go, quite frankly. I like novels with thought experiments in them, and I really liked them when I was a kid. Maybe I’ll put it back in.

Don’t tell my editor.

I also took this out, my little bit of mythic scripture-making:

You see, the story that the children told was true. Or true enough. There truly was once a single Universe, and it did indeed split into the teeming, cacophonous multiverse – the Worlds upon Worlds upon infinite Worlds – that exists now. It was also true that the short, runty god (the one who had no name; the one we loved best of all) was the cause of it.

But there was more to the story.

The other gods, upon seeing what their brother had done, were enraged. Imagine their shock! : Three worlds where there once was one? “Madness!” the other gods cried. “Lunacy!” they shouted. “Stubby idiot,” they muttered under their breath. He was ordered to undo his rash creation.

But you see, the runty god with the stubby arms and legs found that he could not destroy the worlds he had made. “Look!” he said, “how the mountains uncurl from the sea! Look at the white clouds in this world, the golden clouds in that. Look how the planets spin, how the stars cast their light into the ragged edges of space and time.” Soon, the other gods noticed that the three new worlds were stable and whole. They didn’t wobble or shift. And what’s more, they saw how their stubby, ugly brother loved his new worlds. Loved them.

And so it was that the other gods decided to form new worlds as well – so many that they frothed and bubbled as though in a great sea. There were universes ruled by mathematics and those ruled by magic and those ruled by philosophy and those ruled by physics. There was even a universe entirely subject to the whims of a very large turtle. There were worlds that dwarfed their neighbors, and worlds that fitted neatly inside one another, like nesting dolls. Every universe imaginable erupted, spun and grew. The multiverse swelled and foamed. Worlds pressed so close to one another that their fragile skins stretched and bulged, curving the space within. And the creatures of these worlds saw strange reflections – the distorted glimpses of a world not their own. And they were afraid.

Finally, the runty god had an idea. “It isn’t right that the creatures of our new worlds should suffer. I propose that all of us spend time in the worlds of our devising. We must train teachers and thinkers and tellers. Stories shall be the antidote to fear.” And so they did, each god to its own world, its own creation.

All but one.

I may end up keeping that bit, but in a very, very, very different form. We’ll see.

In the meantime, someone tell me a story. Or tell me good news. Or tell me a joke. Put it into a bottle and throw it into the sea of my own making, my stormy, foaming brain. Or tie it to a rock, and let it sink to the bottom. And maybe I’ll find it. Maybe it’ll keep my heart from drowning.


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3 thoughts on “Underwater

  1. One message in a bottle floating your way. Edits make everyone a little crazy. Thanks for sharing yours with us- the out-takes (which are glorious) and your own brand of insanity.

  2. I got off work early today, and get to play with my son, and two kittens. Joy.

    If we generate some extra “happy”, I’ll be sure to send it your way.

    Oh, Scott Westerfeld’s “Goliath” was sitting on my desk when I got home, AND I got a big check from a client. Good times always roll around. Your’s are next.

  3. A story off the cuff (and into a bottle)… Will you settle for a semi-anecdote? Okay, here goes.

    Yeah, maybe I’ve been doing this too long. Another hour helping students find fun in learning a second language when the fun in teaching is about tapped for me today. C’mon, girl, keep faking it; five o’clock is not as far away as it seems.
    Oh, internal groan. I know this girl. The one who can’t get away from the book. The one who grimaces every time a question is asked, no matter how basic, no matter how many times it’s been asked. “How are you?” still gives her serious trouble. A woman, really, with a job at a bank, but I can’t get over considering her a girl.
    I brace myself, fortify myself with encouraging smiles, for an hour of grimaces and long pauses.
    By the end of class I venture into territory I’m almost certain I’ll regret: If you could have a time machine… I let the others go first so she has time to formulate a response.
    After a long pause: “When I was ten.”
    I wait for the reason, most of which I’ve heard before (I was happy, then. I got good grades, then. I didn’t have to do a lot of work…).
    “My father died when I was ten. I want to see my father again.” Joy and sadness commingle in her expression.
    I love this woman. I can’t wait to see her next class.

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