Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Third 400 Word Question: Dichotomies

I am left-handed, but cut with my right.  I was a southpaw but caught with my other hand.  I'm a middle child with ultra-liberal and ultra-conservative family members, Catholics and agnostics.  Half my family lives up north, the other in the south.  But I live in between, and I carried babies on both hips. 
Dichotomies. They can be painful to reconcile.  But stepping outside ourselves forces us to become more balanced.
For me, that's where writing comes in.  Prose helps me categorize, organize and process, while poetry and fiction enable me to synthesize, merge opposing ideas and images, forming something different and bigger than myself.  For me, writing is revealing and healing, a means of reflecting on my life and thoughts as I indulge in self expression.  Writing lets me rage, celebrate, observe and create. 
Writing has also forced me to investigate, research, edit and analyze.  In college, I studied and wrote about various religions, philosophies, world history, literature and art.  I worked hard at sociology, psychology, science and math.  Writing, then, has made me just a little more ambidextrous.
As I write this, I keep in mind the rules: only 400 words which must end up asking a universal question on a preset theme.  It's a little like trying to write form poetry, which requires a certain amount of discipline.  My words must say a lot, and it's a humbling challenge.  But I like challenges, even when taking them on often feels like getting acupuncture from an amateur. 
Actually, I've never had acupuncture, but I can image what it would feel like to have pins stuck in you by a novice. 
That's the crux of  it: imagination. 
What we imagine is inherently part of us.  It's science.  Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, and we are matter and energy residing in conflict.  Therefore, everything in our imagination is related to our experiences and perceptions, even if secondhand.  Not only do we live our own lives, but we read about the past and present.  We listen to Reverend Greg.  We talk to one another.  We share stories.  Our psyches are comprised of the universe, and through the arts, we express that spiritus mundi, the soul and memory of the world.    
So tell me.  Are we willing to try to bat with both hands, even if we might get hit with the ball?  Are we willing to imagine?
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