The Idea


I am but a slave to the idea of an idea.

Some stare in blank-eyed rapture at progressive screens of nothing, cheering for the endless rattle and hum of a world without, fighting mercilessly for mercy. In a world where absolution can be bought online from any Dr. John Smith, ideas have all but died.

Others still know of the idea. Endlessly repeating upon themselves, they create and recreate the same material, through the same medium, with no hope for escape- nor do they want it. Sooner would they devour themselves, like Uroboros, than face a world where they must create. Ideas, to them, are the screens of the others, flitting by at the speed of light because they do not wish to see one single instance of beauty. Desiring all, devouring all, yet creating nothing.

I am priviledged to stand among the creators; the architects of new worlds that are constantly recreating themselves in the image of a tomorrow that was dreamed of yesterday. They know that it is not ideas themselves that build worlds, but the notion that the idea itself is not a fixed structure. A building is stable; the idea of it is flimsy and wavering. An idea is open to change, to being reshaped.

 Yet the idea demands respect. It demands attention. It claws at the inside of the mind, screaming for release until you drop to the ground and cry to the heavens that either it must die, or you do.

 Such is the life of a writer, and more than the writer, the idea of the writer, for the writer’s idea of itself is, perhaps, the most foul-tempered mistress of them all.

 A writer is asked, “What do you write?” To answer, we must ask, “What have you written?” To answer that, we must examine content. Word count. Audience. Purpose. Meaning. Life. And, ultimately, the writer again.

 Writers write what they know, or so they say, so who is the writer? Is he a scary person? Is she lovable? Is he good with kids? Is she an ex-convict? Based on this description, this title, what has the writer experienced?

 Given this answer, what do they write of? How does the idea of what has happened to them affect the idea of what they are to write?

 And so he writes a horror novel. Wait, scratch that, thriller. No, horror. The idea of the book continues to change, and as such, does the writer. He decides upon thriller, but is it for adults? Yes. No. Yes. No. It’s for everyone. It’s for children. Screw it, it’s never getting published anyway, why bother?

 Now, the writer is no more; he has given up, curled into a ball and become crushed by the inevitable implosion of his mind, caused by a single idea: The idea of his identity.

 And thus, I press on, press against the crushing walls of the idea, forcing myself into existence as a writer solely through the expression of will.  I fight the idea for control of myself. Even as it curls around me, even as this constrictor sticks its tongue out and gets a taste of the meal to come, I am content knowing that, in my destruction, I am free to exercise the identity I have carved in the flesh of my idea.

 Because the idea is mine, and I am its slave.

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