Why is it that I feel the need to start with an apology?
I know that it’s been a while between posts, and it seems that this is the constant plight of the part-time blogger. We sense the leviathan weight of internet output pushed out to us every minute, and we know we’re not anywhere near that prolific, nor can we ever be. I read recently that there is more new content generated on the web in one day than there was from the beginning of time up to 2003.
So, I’m going to resist the urge to turn blogging into just another source for creating guilt. I’m already writing a book about that.
Instead, I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, not as an excuse, but simply to keep up with the narcissistic ruse I’ve created that tells me people read this, and may wonder about the gap. And, the report isn’t even all that exciting: I’ve been filling out applications.
Yay! Glad we got that out of the way!
Now: to return to content proper, my new piece for State of Formation is up, and it feels sort of like a return from an interfaith hiatus. Most of that isn’t due to any real cognitive dissonance about the whole thing, but I have started to feel a tad inept over at that site. Everyone seems to have one theological degree or another, many of whom are only in their early 20s. Being the lone creative writer in the group, I tend to feel overwhelmed with the knowledge and concepts most of the writers are processing.
In the end, though, I’ve tightened my belt and dug up further resolve to stick to my guns (and, also, glibly mix metaphors). So, this new piece is more of a lyric essay–a hybrid form of nonfiction that embraces poetic juxtaposition, intuition (meaning, not everything is explained logically), and emphasizes image. I’ve tried to also make it suitable for a journalism-reading audience, so just tack that on to the hybrid, too, I suppose.
It felt good to flex the old lyric muscles again, and work in the form that fits the most naturally with the way I think: the collage. I’m also quite proud of the photo I chose to accompany the piece. It’s a collage of two photos that I made (by amateur hook-&-crook) that combined a truck accident in Massachusetts with a road fire in Cairo. Click on the image to enlarge it and enjoy its full juxtaposed wonder.
With that, here’s the opening to “Spills: A Collage for the News“:
The road: a ramp between I-95N and 128N in Peabody, MA, perhaps one of the most used for commuters working in, but living north of Boston.
On March 9, a UPS tractor-trailer rolled over on the ramp. Reports fly around as to why, none emerging as definitive: he lost control of the turn. He was cut off. He was, who knows? After the rollover, the damage control shut down a major artery that shoots from the urban heart of New England.
Here’s what came spilling out of that artery: Gallons of industrial printer ink—purple, black, and green blood slicking the asphalt like so many cuts and bruises.
“The problem is the viscosity,” an official said. That flow of black eyes seeped into the road’s pores, essentially turning it into a giant screen-printing machine, car-tires rolling etchings as they careen endlessly.
It is not just a spill; it is a stain that can’t heal itself, and therefore must be replaced. Even though not a single injury was incurred, why does this viscous scene scream bloody murder? Read More
*Photos courtesy of Stan Forman/WCVB & Khaled Ali/AFP/Getty Images