At work, my first cup of tea had the teabag wisdom words from Goethe
“Choose well, your choice is brief and yet endless.”
Teabag wisdom comes from the little square piece of paper at the tip of the string holding together the tea leaves found with most Celestial Seasoning brand. I thought the quote profound. The theme had been cropping up these past months in different aspects of my life… Well, life abounds with choices, so maybe not so profound afterall.
Onwards with my day. I bring up the news and use the headlines to poke my imagination awake. What’s happening in my world? Further along I plant the question how some stories fit into the theme and layers of my play.
The creative sources are abundant:
• the headlines of your favourite online or printed news cast
• a snippet of a conversation you couldn’t help overhear
• a momentary image you witnessed on your way to someplace or while sitting somewhere suspended in time
• an incident with someone close to you that incites something deeply buried in your nerves
BP’s “Deepwater Horizon” blowout from 5 weeks ago has been prominent in the headlines. Today the company is attempting a Top Kill to choke off the oil spill. Other headliners today included Hillary Clinton’s reaction to another provocation by North Korea accused of sinking a South Korean submarine. And there was a short piece about a US Activist, Lori Benson, who was released on parole after spending 14 years in a Peruvian jail.
What is important to me?
There are months, weeks, days and moments when I don’t want my world to be so vast. I can imagine myself to be content to be in my living room, drinking wine and listening to my favorite music and nothing more, except for the simple companionship of my dog. It’s not easy to be removed from the outside world for very long.
A walk one block from my apartment and there is a homeless guy resting on the side of the church building. He’s invisible to the people attending the gatherings there. My mind moves on, and wander to asking why it’s only the US government wagging its finger at BP for the oil spill. Are my news sources limited? Where is the real source of good objective news reporting? This oil spill is a global mess. We share this big ocean and shouldn’t we all do something, a little something? A sense of powerlessness tinges my outlook.
I’ve got things to do, and it’s a goddamn long list: a functional design spec due, meeting with users and the developers; a status update to my manager… It’s almost lunch. I hanker for sushi… haven’t had it in a while. The Gulf of Mexico is a spawning ground for the critically endangered bluefin tuna. I’m going to New Orleans in mid June, and I’m looking forward to the seafood feast. Meanwhile, the shrimp farmers have already noticed the effects of the spill in their industry. I should go for a walk during lunch; get fresh air and exercise. Or I can hole up in the non-descript cafe down the street and bury my head in a book.
My mind, cluttered with thoughts fighting for a slice of time and attention, distracts me from a purpose (which is now a blur) , and I feel exhausted. My precious time and energy had bee dissipated away into churning thoughts and worry. I have 10 minutes left of my lunch so I pick up my book: The 2nd section in on Love. The topic is: “Love is Disciplined”. (Source: The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978)
“Because genuine love involves an extension of oneself, vast amounts of energy is as limited as the hours of our day. We simply cannot love everyone. True, we may have a feeling of love for mankind, and this feeling may also be useful in providing us with enough energy to manifest genuine love for a few specific individuals. But genuine love for a relatively few individuals is all that is within our power. To attempt to exceed the limits of our energy to offer more than we can deliver, and there is a point of no return beyond which an attempt to love all comers become fraudulent and harmful to the very ones we desire to assists. Consequently if we are fortunate enough to be in a position in which many people ask for our attention, we must choose those among them whom we are actually to love. This choice is not easy; it maybe excruciatingly painful, as the assumption of godlike power so often is. But it must be made. Many factors need to be considered, primarily the capacity of the prospective recipient of our love to respond to that love with spiritual growth.”
Every story is about love is what my writing mentor tells his students.
I am curious about the choices of my protagonist and the antagonist of my story in their blind quest to get what they want in the face of adversities. The dangers they face in their journeys faced with the choices with their limited and unlimited capacities for love.
Choices galore. I think I understand what “choice is brief” means. I am walking on this planet in blip of time, and my characters have an even shorter lifetime – less than 2 hours. I’m sure someone, one day, will write into their story about the Deepwater Horizon Blowout and how it affected somebody – maybe somebody who asked “What’s a bluefin tuna?”