Monday, October 11, 2004

Wanna write? Get a load of focus

WRITING is focused thinking.

So if you want to write in earnest, stop watching television. TV makes you lose precious focus. And it nudges most folks into hare-brained thinking—they get to soak up all that trash purveyed by the idiot box, from lousy turns of phrase, carabao English plus kalabaw Filipino, feigned affectations off talk shows to trivia passed off as news.

Two-dimensional sight won’t engender insight.

Afternoon at a vacant lot run over by weeds across our abode in Ciudad Real (that's in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, about a four-hour commute northeast of Manila), we bumped into a gaggle of children keen on catching dragonflies—pretty live playthings. Catching such wee critters can be a field test of patience. And pinpoint focus.

Say, a dragonfly's an airborne predator gifted with zillions of eyes entirely filling up its head to keep keen watch for prey on the wing. Too, a dragonfly is equipped with two pairs of wings—lightweight and lacy, yet, suffused with blood plasma that allows quicksilver flight or falcon-like assault on unwary prey. The kids were catching dragonflies in, shall we say, time-honored fashion— bated breath, stretched out arm, index finger and thumb aimed for a cotton-soft tweak to trap the critter’s hindmost. They’ll miss taking the quarry most of the time but what the heck, there’s simple fun and frustration in every try.

It’s in-situ learning session, I’d say. The kids are having four-dimensional immersion into the lay of land.Did I say four-dimensional? Length times width times height equals palpable space of three dimensions. The fourth dimension is time. Each kid will contend with a whit of a time-space continuum, will splurge in a serenely joyous game while unwittingly honing his/her senses to a razor’s edge.

Call that interface-- more information is gleaned thereat. My kid joined the fun—wading among the grass, hand tucked lightly above the waist, suddenly flicked out in an open palm, prestissimo cupping the palm upon contact with the critter and the poor dazed thing’s cooped. It was so easy. He gave out his catch to ‘em kids.That was instant yet pinpoint focusing, intent lashed out in an eyewink. Not much room for reflection. It was reflex action. It was a show of power. Uh, power equals speed times flicked out mass. That’s not virtual time. ‘Twas real time trickling out in four-dimensional reality.

For all those zillions of eyes in constant watch, all it took was a flick of a hand for a quick grasp. Oh, that proved the hand’s faster than zillions of eyes when it comes to grasping. And when it comes to coming, the hand can be faster than many a thigh. Sigh.

A couch camote wont to fidgeting with a remote won’t catch a thing in quick flight or get a quick grasp of insight.

Goethe had it worded: “He who catches joy as it flies dwells in eternity’s sunrise.”

He said catch. Not watch.

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