Now this is the kind of off-the-grid-fifty-universes-over-from-the-next-parking-lot-from-the-warehouse-where-the-box-usually-is thinking we like to encourage around here. Following our company’s founding tenets of non-critical criticizing, we congratulated the firm and thanked them for their hard work and visionary insight. We especially liked the part about the giant head on top making the building a spitting image, at a distance, of a PEZ dispenser. Our legal team pointed out all kinds of potential legal problems. We were disappointed that our company did not at the time of this writing produce something that would come out of the dispenser’s mouth periodically. But that would be a horribly awkward delivery system owing to the highly trafficked streets below. No one mentioned anything about how PEZ heads don’t rotate. Still, big fat kudos for the thoughtfulness. The real problem is that we facade over the high-speed, hyper RPM sub-quantum warning system antenna. But we’ll get there.
we know emperor penguins mate for a season, spawn, repeat with another partner next time around and never look back at what was with whom it was because, because, because of the singular focus at hand as both arch and bow as one as their instinctive bond doth command a commitment to memory unto bone and sinew through downy fir upon layered blubber, having survived the summer’s grazing under thinning sheets and menacing predators, and as the couple they are for the rearing of another half-clone of each, the call, the scream, the cackle, the chortle for which no human has a word that means the sound they make, distinguishable to each and to each only (until the fruit of their egg hatches into the din of its parent’s welcome) like a laser scanning (but not a laser because that’s visual) for the one-and-only barcode for which it abandons, indeed ignores all others in the huddled mass they join through darkest winter, mother and father, taking turns, sharing the responsibility of incubation until the happy reunion should will of Darwin allow as per the signal we’ve discussed, you know, the call of calls, the only one that matters, the one of the other, that is like no other, that of the partner of the moment, the moment being the here and now as much as their mutual identification results from a hear and now, the remarkable nature of which cannot be overstated no matter how loud the cry of one toward the other, yes, the penguin knows its partner to mission’s end
I got in trouble for the first time when I lied about getting on the Dean’s List. The job, that job, the one I had, almost had at that time and indeed would have in a very short time and for a very short time, seemed so important at the time. And so, during the interview I let something slip out, just a sideways mention of it as an off-off-handed comment, just a non-important tossing of a salad. Eyebrows raised. I blushed like a school secretary with too much cleavage. None of this made the difference as to whether or not I got hired. (more…)
Yes, yes. This is only another idea, and idea in itself about ideas. What’s the big idea? What is a big idea? What’s so big about a big idea that offers little or nothing in return.
I carry around a notebook and pen. Sometimes I remember to write down a thing or two that occurs to me. I’ll write down anything that comes to mind that seems like it isn’t the kind of thing that comes to mind, usually. I got the idea to start doing this when I would review things I had thought of that I didn’t think I had usually thought of, an occurrence or two, like: notions; quips; word play; inventions; fresh etymological possibilities; allusions; melodies; techniques; character enhancements; plot elements, and on and on. If I’m lucky I remember to write them down. I can write them down if I remember to bring the notebook and pen. Maybe I should just text myself. Yeah, that would work. And here, I’ve already written it down. But isn’t writing something down in longhand part of the process of fleshing out the idea?
Ten or fifteen years ago I was interested in film. I wrote films as invited, some would say commissioned. Had never thought of writing for the medium until an old friend, a producer with a couple of movies to his credit that presented some respectable if not downright famous-name actors. I embraced the challenge, learned all I could, cranked out a bunch of junk and perhaps some enjoyable nuggets here and there. Even made a bit of money.
Mostly importantly, I discovered story structure, plot control and all that kind of thing I had never worried about as a poet, a journalist, or as a stream-of-consciousness narrative writer. This changed my life. No it didn’t Okay, it did. Just not as much as it should have. I didn’t allow it. Didn’t even encourage it. As a rule I do not follow rules. This, and other paradoxes, has set my trusty compass off any true direction by more than a few degrees. The long and short of my journey is that I must go around the world quite a few times before I arrive at my ultimate goal. Sorry.
No shortage of ideas here. The more disparate are the elements of a problem, the more creative the solution. That’s all there is to it.
This is truly a question that I am frequently asked.1 This is a question to which I would like to hear more answers than the one I’m about to give. It would be pretty cool for people to offer their own conclusions as possible answers: “Is a Sacred Clone… such and such and so forth?” Even that answer is sounds good to me right now. Think of a sacred clone as a clone that is sacred. All too obvious, I know, but it’s that
The fun lies in the multiple layers of meaning.2 The term “layers” can be deceptive, implying hierarchy of each meaning, one over the other, disparate definitions insulated with layers of nuance and interpretation. Such is the hazard of bias, inflexibility, rigidity. Words are alive with their meanings. All things alive grow and change and evolve, potentially into something unrecognizable.3 And so, sometimes you just have to move on. Some words just don’t mean the same thing they meant a generation or so ago. When one does not accept the plasticity of language one is not likely to accept the inevitable communication failures that result.
Clones are identical, right? I don’t know. Most if not all the sci-fi literature I have beheld seems to emphasize degradation as the common theme. Rule of thumb is that a clone from an original isn’t quite as good as the original. Same goes for a clone of a clone until all integrity is lost and it just won’t hold together. And so, what’s the point? If a clone is not identical to the original, why would you want it?
One of the meanings of the term Sacred Clone could be that that particular is different than all the others. But then, is it a clone? Would the difference lie in mutation or some other fluke that allowed it survivability, that it should not degrade as others of its generation? Again, I don’t know.
All emperor penguins look alike. To me, they sound alike, they act alike, they smell the same. And it is a scent without nuance or subtlety as far as I can tell. But they know each other. Mates know their mates. Parents know their offspring, and can distinguish one from another in the throngs of companions upon returning from weeks away hunting and eating.
A friend and I were playing billiards. She was beautiful as far as I was concerned. But she was a bit older than me, had children half my age. Talking about this she mentioned something, threw it out in our conversation like any other sentence. Yet, I have heard nothing as profound spoken so casually in any conversation since: “We are much more alike than we are different.” And she wasn’t talking about the two of us necessarily. That was when we looked up and noticed a crowd gathered around one of the TV monitors at the Student Union Building. Ronald Reagan had just been shot. He survived. My friendship with that particular beautiful woman did not. However, if you put the two of us together in a crowd after all these years, we would find each other. We would know who the other was from that other time and place and we would enjoy a visit and then move on.
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- I’ve answered this before in two mini-essays, the second after the first was destroyed. This is the third attempt. Here’s hoping. [↩]
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