Meanwhile, Ariel ponders the universe.
Meanwhile, Ariel ponders the universe.
(Ariel listens attentively to her calm, devilishly well-informed master)
To be blunt, I was asked by a group of unlettered dwarfs to write a neoglacial article on the subject of pent-up emotions. My initial response was–go jump in the Urubamba, as my Aztec grandmother used to recommend when someone got her dander up–and I was comfortable in that decision, till I became enraged at the lack of a sensible protocol for those of you who routinely box themselves into elevators.
For instance, you enter the elevator facing, let’s say, east. Why in Tarzan’s name do you immediately turn to face west? If you can take two mincing steps forward, why can’t you take two mincing steps back? Oh, there are those black-hearted people who insist that it’s because the floor-selection buttons are on the other side, forcing busy people (coiffed nicely, holding a briefcase or wrestling with an untidy stack of paper while still appearing to be intelligent) to turn around and select a floor (presuming they weren’t there just for the ride–which is unlikely as business people generally have the same amount of free spirit as unconscionably cold slabs of granite).
But couldn’t the controls have just as easily been installed on the opposite wall–so that the buttons (usually silver–but why not peach or rose or pond-scum green?) greet the elevator pimp (a technical term–as defined in the Human Rights Charter) instantly, without ever forcing them to turn around? Turning around for people with pierced eardrums, for instance, could be dangerous, as they could easily lose their balance, fall, upset the delicate elevator machinery, and send the quaking box down the shaft at Formula One speed, causing injury.
Bad designs always makes me so angry. If I had my way, I’d claw my way to the top [metaphorically–otherwise I’d use the elevator], become president of the Otis Corporation, and fire the whole design team. Fire them, and retroactively garner their wages. I’d be doing the world a public service.
Now don’t get me started on escalators.
My advice to writers:
Write what you know.
Unfortunately, this has not worked in my case (read the DSM 5 for tantalizing clues).
So, here is my personal directive on writing: learn the difference between advice and advise, for starters, and never forget to take your medications. There are so many underutilized forms of psychosis, so much untapped potential. Add to this the fact that there are thousands of medications out there (the drug companies, your friends, have a wonderful assortment of pills for you; just ask your doctor if such and such is right for you, as if your own physician, Dr. Sugar, can’t determine what you should take!) just waiting for a chance to get in the door–and you can soon see the scope of the problem. It’s an inequity that needs redress. Watch television, pay attention to the commercials, get ideas. I am asking you to do something about this–you’ll be a better writer for it (and, concurrently, the drug companies will have better balance sheets, which makes for prettier graphs, rendered beautifully in prescription pill colors such as sucked-you-in red and loser-you’re-hooked yellow, in their annual report, a tradition among business people, which is, sadly never read, as sleeping in broad daylight can be dangerous, particularly in skyscrapers, where business people tend to cocoon in and can, quite easily, after a bout of somnambulism, result in people falling out of windows, which can be painful.
Oh, one other thing. Exercise your brain. And no I don’t mean to put it on a treadmill. That’s silly. Brains don’t have a means of locomotion (a brain might swim though, so there may be some benefit to dropping it into a bucket of water and letting it do some laps–flailing about trying the butterfly stroke, the dog paddle… whatever. ) No, I mean exercise the body, such as performing a galliard with cinque-pace leaps, in the hopes that some motes of oxygen produced during the exertion may actually reach your gelatinous brain and do wonderful things.
For more writing tips please consult an actual writing guide (which can, in a pinch, be used as a paperweight, or as fuel–if things ever get as bad as I predict they will.
Of course you could get a butterfly dog (to do the butterfly stroke) simply for the beauty of the thing. No special advice or grammar required here.
“There was a farmer who had a dog. And Bingo was his name”… an old ditty, and a brilliant writerly segue to this–
The ancient Greeks and the old-time Romans were great at inventing tepid mythical beings: think half-horse-half-man or, quiveringly, three-headed puppy dogs, but this lack of imagination is probably the product of bad wine or, respectively, a demonstration of the deleterious effects of having gotten rabies from one of Hercules’ pets (which are not necessarily from the animal kingdom, but that’s another subject) .
And yet what I am about to advance is no more imaginative, probably less so. But still, you are a captive audience and have little choice but to hear of how floriferous trees sometimes shred their ambassadors of color, making a rainbowy carpet for the downtrodden to rest upon. But what if these flowers did not come from a tree? What if they weren’t even dropped out of a florist’s van (oh those hairpin turns)? What if they grew straight out of the terra firma? That would be mythical, don’t you think?
So consider Kaempferia rotunda, a lovely ginger that flowers directly from the ground. Who needs the jaundiced mythology of the Greeks and the Romans? Incidentally, the species is native to China–just like the Papillon.