Monday, August 17, 2009

It's all in your Mind

"Nothing happens unless first we dream.” – Carl Sandburg

Walking up the stairs today was akin to stepping into an inferno. How is it we think of hell as being down, not up? (Heat rises.) Makes you wonder if there wasn’t a major blunder made somewhere along the line. At the top of the stairs, I delicately step over furry bodies spread-eagle across doorways, floors, any place that might offer up a slight hint of a breeze. Downstairs is cooler, yet every animal I own is upstairs with its tongue hanging out, playing dead. (Once again, I’m wondering about the insanity of nature.) So where am I? Where else? I’m upstairs with the rest of the insane posse getting ready to take a shower.

“It’s hot,” I whine pitifully.

A human body rounds the corner and I start in with another pitiful, “It’s roasting up here!”

"It's not that hot," he says, so that I can read his lips. "You’re not dying, it’s been worse.”

“It was ninety-eight degrees downtown!" I yell. "I’m DYING!”

I imagine myself as the melodramatic Stanley Kowalski yelling "Stella!" in A Street Car Named Desire, with my hand thrown across my forehead for effect.

The other half of the conversation walks back downstairs chuckling, probably mumbling something in the way of "You're nuts!"

I never said I didn’t have a touch of melodrama in me, now did I? Truth of the matter is, I used to deal with the heat quite well. Nine years of living in Florida with a half-broken-down-fan, which squealed in protest more than cooled, taught me all about what HOT was. Growing up poor, never away from my small town, the local library and free books were my escape. I could travel to cooler worlds I would never have imagined possible. Books taught me to dream, to remove myself from whatever was going on in my life, to wish and hope for things that were only real in my imagination. Books are like that.

Today, I let my imagination loose on the page in front of me, creating an alternate reality that comes into being with each word, each sentence, each paragraph. Give me a place, a time, an object, and my mind will create and shape something. I can imagine the best or the worst of any given situation, build on it, and make it into a story. Like real life, my characters will fail or beat the odds. Depends on what side of the field my imagination is plowing that day. My character can be in a deep dank forest and hear screams coming from all directions or take that first step from friendship to the first kiss. (Or am I talking about the same story?) Anything is possible in the imagination. In my imagination, I can be eccentric, or a jokester, or take life too seriously.

Insert the topic of heat into my mind and what happens? I find myself imagining I’m in the sticky hot Louisiana Bayou. I can even smell the dark loamy dirt, the damp musky smell of the water as a splash is heard and a gator goes after something on the silt shore. Tiny gnats buzz in droves around my head, up my nose, in my ears, and I’m batting them away furiously, desperate for some relief, prose blasting like a heat wave through my mind.

(I can even imagine myself as a superhero! If only I could create a rainstorm. No jokes about my being native and a rain dance:
Hero Factory)