Monday, June 18, 2007

How do you know?

I am always following the magpie part of my brain that is attracted to interesting books and articles and knowledge in any form. I'm sort of a literary magpie that way, but it also works for photos and paintings and all kinds of bright bits and pieces of knowledge that I encounter.

I'm not certain what sparked the bug hunt that brought me to Falling Water, but something rang out like a clear silver bell; this is someplace I know, some place that seems almost part of my DNA. In case you don't know, Falling Water is a house designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright the inspiration for Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead's architect, Howard Roark, portrayed on the screen by Gary Cooper, and one of my favorite books and movies.

I didn't know about Wright being the magpie bit that Ayn Rand chose to fuel her story about artistic integrity, but I have always been entranced by Wright's architecture and his work in glass and furniture. You'd think such hard angularity would be boring or uncomfortable but there is such a sense of style and function that defies description. The way Wright designed buildings to fit into the landscape instead of being imposed upon the landscape was not only innovative but forward thinking, almost as if he envisioned a more eco-friendly future. In form and function, in harmony with nature, Wright's buildings are still a marvel and I wonder who carries his spark of genius into this century.

But it was Falling Water that excited me because it reminds me of the cabin I designed and wrote about in my new novel, Past Imperfect. I didn't realize Falling Water was in Pennsylvania, which is where part of the novel is set, or that I had internalized some of the design in creating my fictional cabin, a cabin I hope to one day build here in the Rockies, but it is there in full flower as though grown from the seed of a past memory or a glance at Frank Lloyd Wright's work. I cannot say for certain that I didn't see Falling Water long before this and stored it away among the other magpie treasures until I found a use for it, but how can I know for certain? Does it really matter?

So much of what we are as adults is built from the magpie bits and pieces of everything we have experienced, seen, and even glanced at without immediate recognition, stored away like seeds against the winter that fall through the cracks in the floors of our mind and take root at the first hint of warmth and moisture. We are surprised to find trees and flowers and beanstalks growing up out of the cracks, unable to remember storing the seeds, but there they are in full three-dimensional life growing in the fertile soil of the mind and waiting for a chance to come back to full and vigorous life. What is germinating among the magpie bits you've collected?

This past week time and black holes and the lands of faery are working their way into a story, and possibly a book. Buying a special gift for my granddaughter, Savannah, is slowly and certainly becoming a story of a little girl who doesn't like school or reading or writing or books who is given a bit of magic that unlocks the magic inside her. Just more magpie bits added to the collection to merge and create connections that grow into hybrid life.

That is all. Disperse.

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