Friday, April 2, 2010

A Stranger Comes to Town...

Maybe all the stories in the world can be reduced to these two: "Someone goes on a journey..." or "A stranger comes to town..."

For now, let's just pretend that that is true. That all stories are about dislocation and discovery--and what comes after, the most important thing, the ability to experience. I admit I'm sort of lazy. I don't always bring the attention to my life that would make every moment a revelation. But when I'm traveling I can't just rely on what I think is there, I have to pay attention.

I'm traveling this week. No place especially exotic, but a place full of wonders because it is full of surprises I can't ignore. Take the machine pictured above as an example. First, it's a "pencil pointer." What a fantastic name. I wonder where it was used. By whom? An accountant or assayer? Maybe by students at the College of Mines and Technology? Or was it in the office of the Sisters of Charity?

The provenance is uncertain, but the operation of the mechanism is clear. I could make this work for me. I could "point" a pencil and then write a story.

Whatever story I wrote, one thing is certain: I discovered this artifact while traveling. It is new and interesting to me. Whatever else I have to invent for the story, the pencil pointer can be true.

This is a small sturgeon and a large hunchback trout.
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