Almost mindlessly I picked up The Selected Works of T.S.Spivet by Reif Larsen. I have made about three attempts to read this book at separate occasions in the past two years, but it kept losing me, and I kept getting lost away from it. Every time I would begin at the beginning, because there was nowhere to pick up from the last time.
But tonight it finally caught me, and finally I got past page eleven. The words and the images clicked into place, dug in roots. The story thickened, pulsed, grew out of the pages and spilled over the lingering thoughts gathered anxiously on and around my desk. Just a page in and the highlighter was making marks, and a part of my mind pulling portions of what I read like soft taffy and sticking them into potential grafts with other bundles of words loitering and orphaned in my head, creating tacky webs of association. Slumbering plans stirred from their suspended progress.
The book suddenly became a lighthouse, a steady reference, a constant I can tether myself to for the moment. At the very least until this particular prolonged life storm has passed for good. There will be other storms and I will weather them when they come. But for now there is only this storm, battering at my fragile foundations, forcing me to bend to the point of breaking. It has flooded over what I had carefully seeded and tended, all labour’s fruits buried in the mud.
I found comfort in the idea of maps and cartography, and of breaking down nature into its parts, labeling and identifying, classifying and filling in the blanks of whats and hows, always on the lookout for the undiscovered and the unknown. And I realise it is not unlike my creative quest. For in the process of getting absorbed into the story’s world from the perspective of an odd twelve-year old, I felt my journey’s path open up a bit. Not to a solution to my current predicament but it remains a means to one. A knot loosened in the tangle of options, something I could do with clearer purpose instead of the half-certain forward movements I have been making for the past few days. Movement is still movement, but the long plateau has been unnerving. I have been dowsing, trying to discern which projects would best shorten the distance between obscurity and no longer losing sleep over the household bills.
If I look back, even for a short bit of time, I could see the other clues that were not so obvious then. Pieces presented to me to put together into something useful. A map. A spinning wheel. A daisy chain.
I did look back, and I gathered the bones and the seeds, in no specific order:
All of them have that similarity in tone and flavour when my mind grazes on them. An invisible relationship without the aid of a neatly typewritten manual.
Or maybe the Spivet book is the manual, with its meticulous maps and graphs and illustrations. But I have to read between and beneath the lines.
Overall they all hint that something is ready for a metamorphosis. Something that’s been simmering and lingering for quite a while, silent and underground. But it’s an old thing, nothing to do with my recent frantic frenzy of effort with the shops and all that. Just something old and heavy and important that has decided to surface into my daily life regardless of the inconvenience.
It has to do with words, first and foremost, and my original creative roots as a writer.
It is not a spectacular momentous event. At least it doen’t seem so from where I am now. But it is important. It may even be a really small shift, yet it could be the lynchpin upon which everything else hangs.
I don’t really know. We’ll see.