A few days ago I added a new piece called ‘A Writer Calls in Sick.’ It was a spontaneous collaboration between myself and a writer friend P.T. Wyant. If you haven’t read it, go read it now– it’s a quick, funny little piece.
The response to it has been a little overwhelming. I came online the following day to find it had been liked and even shared all over the place, and I was getting comments from folks I had never met thanking us for the laugh.
We were talking about how we should collaborate again, a few people commented as such. I’ve let my mind wander as it does looking for possible paths to follow toward this end, we could make a whole series of ‘Writer & Editor’ pieces, a web series or a book or both, who knows. I’m open to any options, but I am having a hard time grasping how to even try to repeat this effort. The whole thing was born so spontaneous, there was no intention stated of working together or trying to write something or work on a bit. It grew out of such a tiny spark and came to life so fast, and completely unexpected.
Over the last few months I have been typing nearly non-stop, back to writing after a few dry years. I have been writing new stuff and transcribing some old scribblings from the notebooks.
I have files I keep, like a junk drawer for thoughts and ideas, I was going through it recently, and I don’t even recall writing this little line. Where it came from or why I thought it was important, but there it was, this off little half-thought:
It struck me as an odd little thought, so I posted it on facebook, just to see what sort of reaction it might get.
A few minutes later I saw P.T. had replied, in character as the Editor, responding to the post. We traded lines back and forth for twenty or thirty minutes, I was laughing and she has commenting she was laughing the whole time too.
And then there it was, as simple as that. A piece was born. I messaged her and asked if she would mind me making it a bit and posting it. She asked if I had intended this when I posted the blurb. No, I answered honestly. I had no motive to post the little random half-thought other than to see if it made anyone chuckle.
So, how does one repeat that? How do you recreate an activity that seemed to happen on its own. This is one of those intangible sides of art. You can learn and study and read and practice and develop and repeat. But there are just some things you can’t prepare for or train for or practice, things you never expect, things you may struggle to explain.
It has been a while, but it is not the first such experience I’ve ever had. Strange things happen, miracles occur, and I strongly believe there are some songs out there floating in the ether, some stories just waiting to be plucked from the air and told. Sometimes the stories get tired of waiting and manipulate events to bring about their creation. Why not?
As I’ve said, I’ve seen things of this sort before. Not common, and I don’t think it is something you can ever get used to. Sitting here thinking about it now still gives me a little chill down my spine and tickles the hair on my head ever so slightly against my brain.
It reminds me what I love about being a writer, an artist. Yes, you get to build your own Universe and play god with your characters and recall the stories exactly as you would like them told. But sometimes you got to see something like this, even better when you find yourself participating in it. It is a form of magic, really– the story literally appeared out of thin air. I truly believe it’s a tiny miracle, a wink from elsewhere, reminding me to wonder at the wonder; and proof that occasionally the Universe keeps something up its sleeve.
©Robert Emmett McWhorter