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The spirit

/ 07:51 AM June 12, 2011

With three kids in the house on a weekend it is hard to find a silent spot in time and space.

The television home-theater system is blaring away a  metal-core rock piece from the cult-rock group “Bullet for My Valentine.” Nearby, the youngest child is watching in the computer a DVD  copy of the animated movie “Rio.” volume set to medium blast. The girl-child is waiting for her father to finish writing so they might proceed with collaborating on the design and production of a wrist band with metal studs, all in the style of goth. She is smart enough to know that the less she bothers her father, the faster he will finish. But she hovers over his shoulder reminding him how she waits in discomfortable anticipation. There is the sound and smell of cooking in the kitchen, ground meat frying. It is a perfect time and place to write.

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Just the other day, the Maker found himself writing something in the narrow lobby of their school office. It was a busy walkway, the students rushing to enroll themselves in time before the deadline. But there was an electrical outlet nearby to recharge the computer and an electric fan to blow away the humidity and heat.

His co-teacher Mayette came around to suggest better places to write, places away from the crowd. The Maker loved the interruption for the opportunity to explain why this was a perfect environment for him. He writes everywhere and seldom in silence. It can be too silent for him and at those times when the world is not smashing away at something he will turn on  iTunes in his computer so he can listen to Bullet for My Valentine or Norah Jones or even Taylor Swift, his kids’ music. His daughter is much more sensitive to his needs and will include a few songs from the Beatles in the playlist. Every time John Lennon plays on his computer he remembers how well loved he is. The thought always interrupts the train of his narrative but he excuses himself thinking: It is just my style. Noisy.

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The maker of these essays is used to noise. He thinks best when the world blares away so that he feels almost as if he can’t hear his own thoughts. At those moments, he writes from somewhere between brain and fingers. He can feel the chair with his ass. Distrust the brain, he tells himself. Trust your feelings instead. Writing is not just about thinking. It is also about trusting your thoughts. Stay away from too much premeditation. To the extent that it can be done, do not think about consequence. It is not you who writes but something inside you. You only have to punch in the words as they come. Where are the words taking you? That’s for finding out in the end. In the meantime, just type. Where are the words coming from? The Maker would like to think it comes from the spirit. But what does that mean—the spirit?

It is the thing that holds us all together. Freed from all the garbage, which engulfs us at any time in our lives, we are all intrinsically good. The human spirit is good. We are attached to the spirit of God. Or if that does not sound too good for one’s faith, then it could always be said as the spirit of goodness. The religious will say “the Holy Spirit.” But there is also a secular way of looking at it. After millions of years surviving in a perilous world of strife and violence, there must be in the human genes  an inkling of other drives besides the organism’s own predatory and defensive instincts. There must also be a feeling for conviviality, the desire to “live together.”

Humans often live inside a social fabric of distrust and competition. Do we find this enjoyable? It is only how things are. We endure. Yet, everyone without exception must know how it feels to live inside a place of trust and love. We must all have felt it at some point in our lives. We must remember how good it felt. We all must have a recollection of how it felt to be ensconced this way: like a baby in the mother’s arms close to the breast.

We must carry this remembrance with us as we grow also with age. We must know how to bless those around us with the same sort of feeling so they too may carry it in memory and come to bless others in the same way. This remembrance must carry over many generations, imbedding itself in the depths of human instinct. This must be the thing which   makes it possible for humans to live as families, clans, communities and societies. It must be the thing which makes conceivable even the most complex notions of “living together,” such complex notions as language, religion, nation and world.

We must carry inside us an inkling of love and that driving force which guides us when we do those acts which do not derive simply from the mental process. We must have an inkling of the spirit that  guides us still even in the noisiest places and times.

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