Ganglia are our friends. If you think of the nervous system as, say, the streets of the cities of Boston or London, the ganglia are roughly equivalent to roundabouts, hot spots where lots of traffic converges and manages to go off in ways that don’t land you flat on your back.
If the Earth, or Gaia, is a sentient being (except in election years), it stands to reason that there might be places that function as ganglia. There are those who believe that ley lines exist, channels of earthly energy, and if that’s so, there should be the equivalent of ganglia. If you look at the most recent photos of northern lights from the space station, you get the idea that our planet has a lot going on that is way beyond our mundane understanding. Any entity that can sport such a gorgeous green halo whenever it feels like it must have a very sophisticated neural traffic system.
Every year for more than a decade I have visited Carnac, a site in northwestern France where giant stones were placed in parallel lines extending for kilometers, for reasons known only to the humans who did this marvel of engineering more than five thousand years ago. Who knows what the function of Stonehenge or other stone circles could have been to our ancient forebears, but sunrise at spring equinox and sunset at summer solstice hit the same major stones in those circles right on schedule every year.
If these giant circles are solar timekeepers, what could the long stone lines at Carnac have meant? From the first time I went there I have always felt some special buzz in the earth, and the one time I took dowsing rods to see how they would respond, they were nearly jerked out of my hands. Ley lines?
Closer to home, we visit Portuguese Beach every other week, and I get the strong feeling that down at sea level, under our picnic cliff meadow, is a giant ganglion. I have heard others describe that spot as a place of powerful energy, so it’s not just me. When we’re sitting there with our picnic, sometimes other visitors trek across the gullied narrow neck onto this peninsula, and sometimes we strike up a conversation. Never once have I described this as a place of power without getting “Oh, yeah, I can feel it.” Power of suggestion? Maybe.
Many humans have made giant fortunes and wreaked awful destruction searching for energy sources within the earth. From what I can see and feel, our ancestors had their own ideas about energy sources, and I like what they did in response a helluva lot better.
—From the Fool—
I saw a headline that said Lamar Odom is doing much better these days. And they’ve got proof.
I don’t know who that is, but it must be somebody important. I don’t think he’s a Supreme Court judge because one of them died and probably isn’t doing better. But I thought I ought to read the story because it’s an election year and we have to stay informed or we’ll vote for somebody stupid without even knowing who.
So it turns out that Lamar Odom went on a hike with some other people in California. And they posted a picture on Facebook where you could see one of his legs. I guess that was the proof that he had both legs or he would’ve fallen over sideways. And then it said he’s still married to his wife, which seems like a good idea. If he does start to tip over she can catch him.
All kinds of people are getting their picture in the paper. I guess it doesn’t take much. And it’s great to know that somebody’s doing better these days, whatever they’re doing. Though it’s weird to see all these famous people that I’ve never heard of.
But then I googled Lamar Odom and found out he was a basketball player who conked out in a Nevada brothel. I didn’t know they played basketball there.
There are times when the writing life has its rewards. Fame and parties and money, perhaps, though I’ve not had those. What I’ve had are those moments when the door swings open and you catch a glimpse—in an image or gesture or phrase—of what’s under the skin of your universe. The true satisfaction comes in simply capturing it.
But in the grabbing it, there comes the need to give it out. The gift that’s not accepted lies on the doorstep like the mangled thing your cat dragged there. The song that isn’t heard rots the singer’s teeth. Many of our plays had passionate response, but now they sit on the shelves like packets of seeds from an old harvest, unlikely to be planted again.
And now we’re writing novels: one self-published, three others making the rounds, a fifth nearly completed and about to join the ranks of the unemployed. Perhaps half a dozen friends have read the first; the rest face uncertain prospects, at best. The stories are worthy, I think, and our skill has greatly advanced, but like most of our dramatic work, they don’t remotely fit the Market.
The current novel in process is the hardest piece ever. Partly, I guess, that’s a consequence of getting better at the craft, demanding more. But beyond that, it’s the most claustrophobic setting we’ve ever created, and trying to get a reader to spend an hour breathing its air— Well, we’ve been breathing that air for close to a year, longing to fling open a window and yell, “Out!”
So why do it? Obsession, I suppose. Empathy with the characters, though I’ll never want to see those guys again. An inflated illusion of genius. Or just something to bitch and moan about in public, though the weather today is gorgeous.
Right now I just want to be rid of it. Tomorrow I’ll sit down and get to work. Next project has to be a comedy.