reading

the double singularity

To the order
of things
he was
a quirk,
a kink
in the quantum
bending
the universe back
upon itself
like cosmic origami
that duplicated
his solitude
and doubled
his loneliness
in one
overlapping
point
of inescapable
chaos.

It felt
at times
as if
there might be
two of him,
and yet
none
of him
at all.

He was
what one might call
a “double singularity”
if one
had an
eye
for string theory
and a yen
for verbal
irony.

So
imagine then
how jarring,
how daunting
it was
for him
when he felt
the matter
of his being
tremble
from a
great
distance;
vibrate
with immodest
recognition
of a kindred;
resonate
with grand
and miniscule
magic
as the underlying
arrangement
of all-being
received
his solitude
and returned it
to him
as
belonging.

Imagine
the
incalculable
intimacy
of finding
a parallel
detachment,
the infinite
dilation
in the discovery
of a corresponding
isolation,
the interminable
sense of wonder
that arrived
as he
witnessed
his own universe
expanding
by a magnitude
of
one.

Of course,
she felt it
too
as hers
did the same.

She was
as much
a quirk
as he,
creased down
the center
in her
seclusion,
forced
to face
herself
at all
times.
She was,
indeed,
something
of a second
double
singularity,
as if
the universe
believed
that one alone
simply wouldn’t
be
enough.

And in one
negligible
moment
during which
she unfolded
and finally looked
beyond
her own
expiring
oblivion,
she saw
him
instead,
at the
exact same
negligible moment
that he
saw her.
He said
something
along the lines of
“You have
delicate
ears,
and I
like
that.”
It was
practically
nothing,
and yet to them
it was
the width
and breadth
and depth
of
entirely
everything.
From this
iota
of dual awareness,
this speck
of simultaneous
acknowledgment,
there exploded
another universe,
one
in which
irony was forbidden,
solitude was abolished,
and the idea
of singularity
had never
occurred.

copyright © 2016 steven luna

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the chase

The Chase

Most creative folk, immediately upon revealing themselves to be, in fact, creative, will be asked: where does your inspiration come from? I like to imagine a storehouse somewhere, like a root cellar, where inspiration lies around in bundles and stacks, just waiting for me to wander down and grab a clump. Or a clandestine visitor wearing a trench coat and a fedora tilted over one eye, who coordinates late-night inspiration rendezvous in pools of streetlamp light…but only when he feels like it.

The truth is much simpler than this.

I have no idea where inspiration comes from. And neither does anyone else.

We’d love to tell you that we saw an indescribable face in a crowd and were inspired to write our magnum opus. But it’s just as likely that we see indescribable faces everywhere we look, and inspiration didn’t occur on 99.99 percent of those occasions. And besides, who wants to write about an indescribable face? That seems unnecessarily difficult. Better to write about the ones you actually can describe, since a fair amount of writing is dependent upon description…it’s sort of funny that way.

Sometimes, it’s explained most unhelpfully as looking at a star, which appears much brighter when viewed from the periphery of your vision than it does when stared at dead-on. This is probably a very poetic way of saying, “I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but I love stargazing, and I have no new ideas for stories about them despite having stared at the sky for the past four hours, so…what were we talking about again?”

It can also be described as a bolt out of the blue, a sudden, sharp awareness that comes upon you in the subway or at dance class or in line at the grocer while you’re organizing your coupons. It sends you scrabbling for your phone or a scrap of paper and a pen before you lose your bolt and end up angering everyone in line behind you for no good reason. At moments like this, nobody cares to ask you about your stupid inspiration or your good-for-nothing bolt. They just want you to get your Tidy Cat and your triple-A batteries and your spearmint Tic-Tacs and move along before someone who is you gets hurt.

Ouch.

I’ve discovered that the longer I wait for inspiration, the less like it is to favor me. It’s wonderful when it happens, but it’s rare and fleeting and it comes laden with holes that have to be filled in by the inspired at some later moment. To quote the thesaurus, it’s too capricious. I prefer not to wait for inspiration anymore.

I’m in search of ideas instead.

And they’re everywhere.

Yes. Idea Seeking is the new Being Inspired.

I don’t wait for them quietly in a softly-lit room with violin concertos playing, either. Oh, no. I throw on my Idea Seeking boots and chase them down with a net and a little jug to put them in once they’ve been caught. Then I watch them fly around and bounce off the glass, and I choose from the ones I like. I let the others flit about and grow their wings until they make enough noise to be let free in their own good time.

(A side note: who here besides me loves metaphors? Anyone? Good! I really hoped I wasn’t alone.)

Waiting for inspiration is like expecting your waiter to know you need a refill and letting him come around when he’s good and ready. Chasing ideas is like flagging him as soon as your cup runs dry. There’s really no chance that he isn’t going to come to you with a full carafe then.

Works like a charm.

So to anyone out there waiting for the Next Big Idea to bubble up from the depths or materialize out of the ether: Maybe try chasing it down instead.

You’ll be surprised how far that goes.

ha!ha!holidays

Getting into the swing of the holidays a little early this year…maybe. If big box retailers are any indication, Christmas started just before the post-Labor Day back to school rush. So please accept my apologies, either for jumping in ahead of the game, or for dragging my feet and not starting in on it sooner.

I’m all there now.

A couple of short stories have gone up on Amazon for Kindle, just in time for the after-Halloween before-Thanksgiving doldrums. Present Tense: A Christmas Tale follows a man of power and means as he shops for the only thing his wife wants this year: a particularly rare candy-striped purse by Creegan and Cole. It’s also the first year he hasn’t had his personal assistants do his shopping for him. Challenges await; hilarity ensues.

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Not one to be outdone by Rudolph, Charlie Brown or Bing Crosby, the world’s most sarcastic dead fellow is getting his very own holiday special. In A Very Joe Vampire Holiday, Joe and family celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah while working through a few complications of their own. If you’re familiar with the Ashers, you know this one is bound to be as heartwarming as it is humorous (that’s what we’re aiming for, anyway).

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These both come in addition to last year’s offering, Unlisted: A Christmas Fable, which explores the idea of what happens when someone lands on both the Naughty and Nice list at the same time (hint: it isn’t good.)

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I invite you to try any or all of them; the three together make a fun contemporary holiday storytelling suite to put you in the right spirit. They’re stocking-stuffer priced at a dollar each, too, and will be throughout the season. Click on the covers to be magically transported to the Land of Books and Stuff.

As Joe himself would say, “Jingle jingle, yo – drop the needle and spin the dreidel.”