What Do We Leave?
I promise this doesn’t get (too) philosophical
I have just finished reading a beautiful book and I am struck by the concept of making things.
In Meg Howrey’s They’re Going to Love You, her main character Carlisle is a choreographer; a woman who makes dances for a living.
Make. It’s such an encompassing word. The more specific a word gets, the sharper its teeth get but the shallower it opens its mouth. Make. No teeth, but a wide maw ready to usher quite literally anything to life from inside it.
To make is to exist. To exist is to be made. I had never taken the time to think before I read this book what the active term is for choreography, and there is it: making dances. Making art. Making, with others.
I’ve also been watching the series adaptation of The Last of Us (and enjoying it a lot!). As such I’m trying not to think about the lived-in horror of disasters but more so dwelling on the idea of what comes after humans? After all, the universe is patently infantile. We are but the first swing of chaos, a home run soaring for the stands (because yes, I am that indefatigable motherfucker who believes humans are good, good, so thoroughly good at the core of us).
And yet, we aren’t even halfway through the first inning. There are many more swings for chaos to take, for creation to twist and bend, to try new things when it tires of capital-u Us.
I like to think humanity is special, cosmically significant, because we make things. We mimic the random collision of existence happening and create for ourselves just because we can. We make. We exist. Therein, we continue—perhaps even beyond our own existence.
Writing is a very solitary venture for the first three-quarters of a story’s life cycle. In that final quarter push, there are precious things like beta feedback and revisions and meetings and contracts and various editors doing their job and, finally, a book; birthed. Made.
It compels me think of the divisions in other disciplines, and I have some visuals born from the other morning’s first coffee:
There’s a lot going on these days. Much is at stake and more is to come. There’s always more to come, which is both a blessing and a deep source of tension. I’m working hard at finding the beauty in the undefined instead of letting it chew me up.
I cry when I finish books. It happens every time, even when they end happily. Finishing a book, to me, is like witnessing a minor cataclysm. The end of something great—no matter how many times you turn back to the start of a book, you can’t unlearn it and know it again fresh. Not really (and trust me, I’ve tried. Not even time or psychoactive drugs can wipe that slate clean, although the psychoactives can make a repeat round more, shall we say, dynamic). An author tends to save the juiciest, heart-punching-est lines for that final push of conclusion. It’s pure ecstasy to finish a book, to reach the finale of something another person has made.
We are a great collection of makers, humanity. Life, the state of being made, is so very fresh in the grand scheme of time. I wonder if the next batch of creatures that grow across this planet will also be makers, tellers, or if us and our predisposition for stories are wholly unique.
I wonder if the things we make will stick around to show them what we were able to do with our time here. I hope they learn to read our words, and that they love it all so much they cry at the end of every book.
SHOOT THE MOON is steadily making its way into the world, our release date is October 10, 2023. It’s available for preorder if you’re keen (cover coming soon—I will make a LOT of noise about it, don’t you worry) ✨
I’m reviving my Instagram, and I would love to see you there if you’ve got one as well. Farewell forever, Twitter!!
I’ll leave you with a tune or two :) I’m still listening to Eydie Gormé, which is a great favor to do yourself when you’ve got the time. Here she is live in 1964 with Los Panchos; thoroughly a delight.
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