Thursday, December 30, 2010

Upon Finding

So what's up with the name?  "Upon Finding," what's the message there?

Well, some of you may or may not know that I like to write.  Really, seriously, enjoy it.  Some of what I write is in my opinion pretty good, some is not too bad, and a fair portion is just rambling.  That last bit I delete.

I like to write stories, but stories are difficult.  It's a job to conceive a story that has a plot, characters, development and ultimately some kind of conclusion.  The development part isn't too hard but the conclusion can sometimes leave me just baffled.  What had I been planning for these people?  Lord knows.  It all got lost.

So I had had an incompletely formed idea for a story, the idea never got completely fleshed out but the idea for what I would call it stuck with me: "Upon Finding."  It reverberated in my head, like the perfectly pitched hum that you can make that just feels right, makes your teeth buzz and your vision blur: reverberated.  What did it mean?  How did it relate to this story idea or that set of characters?  When it all boiled down, it didn't.  It's a name.

But - and right here is the moment I'm going to describe - it did continue to resonate with life in general.  You wander into a situation with a set of preconceived notions, suppositions and unfounded impressions, which are all promptly held up against the template of reality and subsequently altered, improved, or discarded.  You have changed your mind upon finding out how wrong you were.  You have chosen a new course upon finding you weren't headed where you really wanted to go.

Upon Finding is the "Aha!" moment of day-to-day life.  Not just the Aha of correcting missteps, but also the Aha of "wow, look at how amazing these crocuses look against the snow" and "it's been three weeks since I last gnawed my nails, look how great they look."  Upon Finding is sliding a finger under the blinkers of habit and getting a glimpse of something beyond what you usually spend so much time - and so little thought - staring at.

So there I was, tearing at my beard because there's not enough hair on my scalp to tear out, painfully grinding the gears of my brain trying to wrestle something to life to go with this great name!  This title that for some reason wouldn't go away.  But nothing worked.  It didn't really suggest an episode, a life, a conflict.  It suggests a comma.

That's right.  A comma.  Just the briefest pause where a moment's thought becomes realization.  Realization becomes the formation of new suppositions, impressions and notions, hopefully ones more in line with reality, more attuned to the people and actions at hand.

I am in a constant state of reevaluation, of reexamining how I am aligned with the world around me - not whether I'm lined up with magnetic north (at this moment, about north-by-northwest) but if I am interacting with people the way I want to.  I'm not terribly outgoing (in my judgment), not gregarious, not a "joiner."  In fact, sitting down and producing this with the specific intent of putting it out there for anyone to see is about as gregarious a thing as I have ever done.

Today was a good day.  There are some days I don't think I'm really worth what I'm paid, for instance...and then on the way home I got a call that there was no hot water in one of the buildings I tend.  Turned around, diagnosed the problem and found that it was an unrepairable part.  But Aha!  I have a dead part similar to this left over from a previous repair - and it's broken the other way.  Pull the good from that one, attach to the good from this one, and the hot water is back in action 


and maybe  I am worth something after all.  Upon finding that I have knowledge others don't, skills others don't, a willingness to dig in and keep going, it's okay to be paid for what I do.  So really, "Upon Finding" couldn't be any story I could write.  I can only tell it to you as I live it.  It's about me, you, and that "fifth note" of a good barbershop quartet, us.

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