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August 17, 2003


by John Clay, editor-in-chief

"Remian in Light" was the title of a recent word from bhag. Eleven days after it was posted, the lights went out in US and Canadian cities from New York to Detroit to Toronto. Now the lights are back. And, in accord with the theme of that column, I am trying to make the most of the light I have now, not knowing how long it will last. Light, life, opportunity. I am responding to bhag emails again, reviewing submissions, and writing this week's Word from Bhag. But what is the word?

My head is spinning—yesterday morning, that was literal. The last symptoms of a cold or flu. Today, it's figurative—spinning with thoughts of what to write. In a recent RollingStone interview, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith remarked that you can't write anything good until you "get out of your own way" and let the creativity flow. A change of scene. Someone else's words to read. A new genre, like the fan fiction S. E Chambers wrote about last week. A latenight or early morning hour when any sensible person would be asleep. Mixing rhyme with reason. These are a few of the many ways to make hesitations step aside and let intentions flow. Intentions or, at any rate, impulses.

When writing I sometimes prefer the feel of rambling on rather than the feel of crafting a perfect literary form or logical argument. One hopes the form and logic are there in the end, in whatever measure appropriate to the writing. But in the process, I want to feel like I just have something to say and am saying it, spitting it out. I never learned to spit. But I may yet learn to write.

But what again is the word for this week? I think the form and logic are clear on that point. Sometimes life is just another dada manifesto from the pen of Tristan Tzara. Searching, mixing, rambling. Or as composer John Cage once summed it up, "I have nothing to say. And I am saying it."

© 2003 John Clay

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