Werewolf change was never pleasant. That was one of the reasons pack members still referred to it as a curse, despite the fact that, in the modern age of enlightenment and free will, clavigers chose metamorphosis. The change comprised a good deal of biological rearranging. This, like rearranging one's parlor furniture for a party, involved a transition from tidy to very messy to tidy once more. And, as with any redecoration, there was a moment in the middle where it seemed impossible that everything could possibly go back together harmoniously.
I explain to everyone I deal with-co-workers, children, friends-that I'm transitionally challenged and they should call me on my cell phone if I'm even a few minutes late. Such calls often come in when I'm happily writing or rearranging the furniture. The monochrones in my life are so organized, they have no trouble remembering to remind me to show up.
We are Jesus Christ's; we belong to him. But even more, we are increasingly him. He moves in and commandeers our hands and feet, requisitions our minds and tongues. We sense his rearranging: debris into the divine, pig's ear into silk purse. He repurposes bad decisions and squalid choices. Little by little, a new image emerges.
Initiate giving. Don't wait for someone to ask. See what happens - especially to you. You may find that you gain a greater clarity about yourself and about your relationships, as well as more energy rather than less. You may find that, rather than exhausting yourself or your resources, you will replenish them. Such is the power of mindful, selfless generosity. At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient . . . only the universe rearranging itself.
leaning down for a quick peck on Jeff's lips, and then he starts squirming and rearranging and manhandling until somehow they end up with Dan in the middle, Jeff stretched out on his left side, Evan on his right. Dan isn't really sure how that happened, and he's not at all confident that it's a good idea.
The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations - all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.
In the days when I was ambitious I worked out a very pretty little plan for conquering the whole earth and rearranging things as they ought to be; and when, in the end, everything became so good it almost began to be boring, then I was going to stuff my pockets with as much money as I could lay hands on and creep away, vanish in some cosmopolis and sit at a corner cafe and drink absinthe and enjoy seeing how everything went to the devil as soon as I wasn't on the scene any more.
For the ethical, political activism was seductive because it seemed to offer the possibility that one could improve society, make things better, without going through the personal ordeal of rearranging one's perceptions and transforming one's self. For the unconscionable, political reactivism was seductive because it seemed to protect one's holdings and legitimize one's greed. But both sides were gazing through a kerchief of illusion.
The library will endure; it is the universe... We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence, reading the history of the past and of the future, collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others, and every so often glimpsing mirrors, in which we may recognize creatures of the information.
The library will endure; it is the universe. As for us, everything has not been written; we are not turning into phantoms. We walk the corridors, searching the shelves and rearranging them, looking for lines of meaning amid leagues of cacophony and incoherence, reading the history of the past and our future, collecting our thoughts and collecting the thoughts of others, and every so often glimpsing mirrors, in which we may recognize creatures of the information.
Jorge Luis Borges
Lewis had said that there is no creativity de novo in us-that we are all sub-creators pirating and rearranging portions of reality. I agreed. But it was only an idea. And then it took on flesh. I began to see the world more like a cook than a writer. There were boundless ingredients out there, combinations waiting to be discovered and simmered and served. There were truths and stories and characters and quirks that could clash badly, and some that could marry and birth sequels. I began to feel a lot more comfortable. It wasn't all on me to create. It was on me to find. To catch. To arrange.
But I hope I will never have a life that is not surrounded by books, by books that are bound in paper and cloth and glue, such perishable things for ideas have lasted thousands of years . . . I hope I am always walled in by the very weight and breadth and clumsy, inefficient, antiquated bulk of them, hope that I spend my last days on this Earth arranging and rearranging them on thrones of good, honest pine, oak, and mahogany, because I just like to look at their covers, and dream of the promise of the great stories inside.
I look at the books on my library shelves. They certainly seem dormant. But what if the characters are quietly rearranging themselves? What if Emma Woodhouse doesn't learn from her mistakes? What if Tom Jones descends into a sodden life of poaching and outlawry? What if Eve resists Satan, remembering God's injunction and Adam's loving advice? I imagine all the characters bustling to get back into their places as they feel me taking the book down from the shelf. Hurry, they say, he'll expect to find us exactly where he left us, never mind how much his life has changed in the meantime.
I look at the books on my library shelves. They certainly seem dormant. But what if the characters are quietly rearranging themselves? What if Emma Woodhouse doesn't learn from her mistakes? What if Tom Jones descends into a sodden life of poaching and outlawry? What if Eve resists Satan, remembering God's injunction and Adam's loving advice? I imagine all the characters bustling to get back into their places as they feel me taking the book down from the shelf. 'Hurry, ' they say, 'he'll expect to find us exactly where he left us, never mind how much his life has changed in the meantime.
But I hope that I will never have a life that is not surrounded by books, by books that are bound in paper and cloth and glue, such perishable things for ideas that have lasted thousands of tears, or just since the most recent Harry Potter. I hope I am always walled in by the very weight and breadth and clumsy, inefficient, antiquated bulk of them, hope that I spend my last days on this Earth arranging and rearranging them on thrones of good, honest pine, oak, and mahogany, because they just feel good in my hands, because I just like to look at their covers, and dream of the promise of the great stories inside.
What is it about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in deje vu, why people believe they've lived past lives, because there is no way the years I've spent on this earth could possibly encapsulate what I'm feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations-all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In you heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are now just arriving at the place you were always meant to be.
The times do not call for grassroots political activism, as if the next election might be enough to reverse a massive cultural earthquake. They do not call for working just a little bit harder: a few more speeches, another letter to the editor, another fundraiser, the next vote, the next committee meeting. These noble efforts aren't even rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; they are tending the seaweed on its watery grave. The times call for a new generation of book hunters. Like the book hunters of the Middle Ages, the new book hunters take it as their mission to uncover and salvage the best of what came before: to cherish it; hold it up for praise and emulation; study it; above all, to love it and pass it on.
Paul D. Miller
Her Kind I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night; dreaming evil, I have done my hitch over the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite. I have been her kind. I have found the warm caves in the woods, filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves, closets, silks, innumerable goods; fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves: whining, rearranging the disaligned. A woman like that is misunderstood. I have been her kind. I have ridden in your cart, driver, waved my nude arms at villages going by, learning the last bright routes, survivor where your flames still bite my thigh and my ribs crack where your wheels wind. A woman like that is not ashamed to die. I have been her kind.
Peeling an Orange Between you and a bowl of oranges I lie nude Reading The World's Illusion through my tears. You reach across me hungry for global fruit, Your bare arm hard, furry and warm on my belly. Your fingers pry the skin of a naval orange Releasing tiny explosions of spicy oil. You place peeled disks of gold in a bizarre pattern On my white body. Rearranging, you bend and bite The disks to release further their eager scent. I say 'Stop, you're tickling, ' my eyes still on the page. Aromas of groves arise. Through green leaves Glow the lofty snows. Through red lips Your white teeth close on a translucent segment. Your face over my face eclipses The World's Illusion. Pulp and juice pass into my mouth from your mouth. We laugh against each other's lips. I hold my book Behind your head, still reading, still weeping a little. You say 'Read on, I'm just an illusion, ' rolling Over upon me soothingly, gently unmoving, Smiling greenly through long lashes. And soon I say 'Don't stop. Don't disillusion me.' Snows melt. The mountain silvers into many a stream. The oranges are golden worlds in a dark dream.
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities-only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field-but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers-but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause-and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
The very name of the genre itself - fairy tale - originated during this time, for the French writers coined the term conte de fee during the seventeenth century, and it has stuck to the genre in Europe and North America ever since. This "imprint" is important, because it reveals something crucial about the fairy tale that has remained part of its nature to the present. The early writers of fairy tales placed the power of metamorphosis in the hands of women - the redoubtable fairies. In addition, this miraculous power was not associated with a particular religion or mythology, through which the world was to be explained. It was a secular mysterious power of compassion that could not be explained, and it derived from the creative imagination of the writer. Anyone could call upon the fairies for help, and it is clear that the gifted French women writers of the seventeenth century preferred to address themselves to a fairy and to have a fairy resolve the conflicts in their tales rather than the Church, with its male-dominated hierarchy. After all, it was the Church that had eliminated hundreds of thousands of so-called female witches during the previous two centuries in an effort to curb heretical and nonconformist beliefs. However, those "pagan" notions survived in the tradition of the oral wonder tale and surfaced in published form in France when it became safer to introduce in a symbolical code supernatural powers and creatures other than those officially sanctioned by the Christian code. In short, there was something subversive about the institutionalization of the fairy tale in France during the 1690S, for it enabled writers to create a dialogue about norms, manners, and power that evaded court censorship and freed the fantasy of the writers and readers, while at the same time paying tribute to the French code of civilite and the majesty of the aristocracy. Once certain discursive paradigms and conventions were established, a writer could demonstrate his or her "genius" by rearranging, expanding, deepening, and playing with the known functions of a genre that, by 1715, had already formed a type of canon, which consisted not only of the great classical tales-"Cinderella, " "Sleeping Beauty, " "Rapunzel, " "Rumpelstiltskin, " "Puss in Boots, " "Little Red Riding Hood, " "Beauty and the Beast, " "Blue beard, " "The Golden Dwarf, " "The Blue Bird, " and "The White Cat"-but also the mammoth collection The Arabian Nights.