Trigger Warning: Organic corpses, law of attraction, Wonder Woman
Humans are good at recognizing patterns, and that makes it a lot easier for writers to come up with dots to connect. As a writer, it is your responsibility to connect disparate dots. Therefore you must consume broadly, and understand how ideas evolve and change.
Some of these changes take an idea and shoot it off into a different direction. When esoteric words pop into pop-culture, their meanings fade from scientific precision to hazy approximations. We associate them with different organizations and political agendas while social media algorithms shuttle us toward more of the same. One or two words is the difference between the Organic Chemistry Society and suggestions for yoga schools.
Annoying? Yes. Useful? Also, yes.
Managing our access to information is also something we need to manage consciously. We have control over how long we sit in echo chambers.
The law of attraction (like attracts like) came up in conversation the other day. My friend made a sexist pun. The sexist part didn’t register until I pointed it out. She said she believed in the law of attraction, and therefore I was offended because I was looking to be offended. Since she wasn’t interested in the nuances surrounding intersectionality, gender politics, sex work, and personal responsibility, I reassured her she was a very nice person and we went our separate ways. I bring these issues up because I’m interested in them, and I want to give others the opportunity to become interested in them.
By sitting in one corner of the thought-verse, we cut ourselves off from some of the key dots we need for the stories germinating in our souls. Feminism, while still important to me, no longer sparks stories the way it used to. By venturing out of those kinds of forums, I read about corpse-cleanup. That took me to an article about the restoration of San Francisco’s columbarium and so forth. My next story, the brain-child of this, has to do with both corpse-cleanup and the different filters through which we view a situation. What does it mean to be clean? What does it mean when a space becomes tainted in an instant? What does it mean to live a life of avoidance?
To find that piece, I had to skip over nine other articles that insisted, with manic fervor, that I am Wonder Woman. Relevant earlier, but no longer. I didn’t read those articles or watch those videos because realizing my inner Wonder Woman didn’t line up with chemical disinfectants and the mundane objects scattered around a murder scene. Those dots didn’t connect for me. I didn’t see the relevance.
But you might.
“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.”
– Marcus Aurelius
“The dots that are collected will eventually get connected.”
– Michael Raymond-James