"bag a' vonds"
(photos from bag, world, and brain)
"It's like a really big, renewable bag, that's self-mending, self-filling and -fulfilling, except it never really does get full because the bag size changes to fit what's being put inside or taken out, which happens nonstop, like a Greyhound bus without a destination that's burning hydrogen it draws in from the air," Chelsea says, sliding words together like "what-me-worry?" beads upon a string, as she tries to answer Melor's question: "Could you describe how the bag works?"
She takes a breath then looks up at the dingy ceiling tiles of Smith 320 and continues with the answer, like she's watching a video of what she's saying as it plays out on a room-roof screen.
"So the bag's size and what goes in and out is all done by a kind of bag osmosis, which is not like people stocking shelves at Safeway but more like the supermarket's dry-goods dream of cans of pickled beets just appearing and disappearing on their own, with no need for human intervention and control. Where the bag, then, becomes a self-reflecting 'mirror of goods' of the time and space of where it's been, where it is, and where it might be going. Which, of course, is an attempt at answering a question that fronts the noodledome in metaphor. Which is, actually, the opposite of what the story tries to do, i.e., to show the noodledome outside the vestments of our ancient, tribal social-reflex need to do the 'oh, small-g god, it's all so big I can't possibly think outside the abstract formal characterization doo-doo of symbol, analogy and metaphor.' Which is just not close to where our heads actually are, now, no matter how much we reiterate 'the great pretend' that, as a species, we're still somehow dumber than our smartphones."
A titter floats across the room of 30 undergrads, assembled for the weekly show-and-tell of "English 419 -- Creative Writing and Rewriting With No Promise of Reward." Chelsea's still standing at the front of class and staring at the ceiling, watching the tan shadows of a water stain along the ceiling tiles that looks like a schooner anchored in the harbor.
Before Melor's question she read a 700-word story about barley soup and love and loss in 1890 Boston. The two print-out sheets of 8-1/2 x 11 paper are resting loose between her fingers, now, like they are perfectly content to be going nowhere in a hurry. Just hanging out, in a friendly co-in-cide amongst the ten lean toolmakers of a 20-something girl actively engaged in looking for the story of her tell.
"That it?" Sanford Melor finally asks, standing by the windows. He's the "paid group leader" for the group of 30. It's his description. In university course catalogue-ese the job title reads "assistant professor," which in the real world means only that he gets to assist in the association with professors, while trying to remain edu-cool enough to be asked one day to associate on his own.
"At age seven," he told the class at the "meet-and-greet" of class day-one, "I thought 'tenure' was just short-hand slang for 'ten year,' which meant that after ten years of teaching at a college or university, you were in. Your life was set, cozy in the edu-womb of job security."
The class tittered then, too. A generation back this might have really been what seven-year-olds sometimes thought. Today, however, kids in diapers have a better handle on the indifference between rosy-glow scenarios and what turns out to be a mostly scenario-absent, accidental world of real.
"We aren't exactly cynical," Evelyn Barnstable said then, responding to the meet-and-greet question "How would you describe yourself?" as she put the "you" in terms of the larger, student "us." "We're just bullshit immunized."
"Yeah," Harrison Thorne added. "It's like people are born, now, with bullshit anti-bodies. We might have no working insight into why what's true is true. We just have a feeling for what isn't."
20160109 18:44 (718 words)
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