– by Albert Berkshire
I was doing research for a project, recently, when I got hit with one of those internet distractions. It was a senseless, but whimsical, deviation from my path. You know the kind, a friend sends you a You Tube link to a cat named Maru – who, by the way, is the world’s funniest cat –
Wait a second. This is where I need David Mitchell to chime in because I’m not 100% certain that a cat is a “who”, or a “which”. And while it does have a name – Maru – it, the cat (now I’m really pronoun challenged, or shy) isn’t a person, in which case I am compelled to ask; “Is a cat a thing?”
This is perplexing, and I apologize while I take time away from this thought, or what was originally to be the thought, while I confer with the Oxford English Dictionary.
Hmmmm. I expected as much.
Now I can’t remember if Maru is a male or female or a formerly male or formerly female cat. Either way, a pronoun is appropriate and it shall be “it”, not “who”.
This love of the English language is quite taxing.
So, as I was saying, one moment you’re watching Maru, which (grammatically correct) is the world’s funniest cat, and the next moment you’re watching Luciano Pavarotti performing live with U2 on stage in Modena and you have no idea a) how you got here; b) how much time you’ve lost; and c) why you didn’t run into Kevin Bacon in those six degrees of separation.
Please don’t ask me to explain the latter. Oh, very well then… <Me-Adam Bernard-Rick Schroeder-Kevin Bacon>
When I finally realized where I was in my day, in the web, and in my fruitless search for information, I started to become overly focused on the amount of time I spend wasting time. Now that, to a former Journalism instructor of mine, might be considered grossly redundant, but the fact of the matter is, it is accurate. I have actually invested time in the art of wasting time.
You know, the more I try to explain it, the more it makes sense to me. And normally I’d feel slightly embarrassed about admitting something so ridiculous, but in reality, it is the sublime that I find the most appealing. Now, you, if you care for definition and proper use, as I do, might argue the use of “sublime” in that context, but I like to think of the ridiculous as being sublime, or lofty, or elevated or grand (in the sense of a writing – no irony there. No chance here).
Were we going somewhere with this? Hells yeah!!!!
I was heading in one direction when something caused me to take a sharp left turn, then a right, then a left until I zig-zagged my way to the two-thirds point in a novel I started more than a year ago. Writing, not reading. I thought I had my story. I thought I knew what it was going to be about. I thought I had it all figured out. Then, as I started writing more and more, as I delved (was that too predictable a word?) deeper (now it is) into the characters, as I found not my story, but their story, I realized it was no different from my frequent – far too frequent – forays into research on ye olde world wide web-thing.
You might like to think that you just never know where you’re going to end up. And in some cases, you may be under the correct assumption; but I like to think of it as knowing where I am going, it’s how I get there that is the nebulous journey.
But that’s me. I’m big on dank adventures. Yes. I wrote dank.
Last night at a wine and cheese reception at a conference, I was chatting with a person who told me the many directions her career took her – so far. And in the core of that conversation I came to have a better understanding of how we, as humans (more particularly at this stage of our online social development), go through life searching for something that gives us direction. But if you, at some point in your life, stop to connect the dots along your path, the path behind you, you’ll discover some very interesting degrees of separation.
And that realization, however “Aha!” it may be, just might be the defining moment in your life…or at the very least, your career.
I had mine sitting outside a pizza joint last Sunday night. And I am indebted to the connection of the dots, and an old friend who is just one more degree of separation away from Kevin Bacon.
How far I am from Maru, the world’s funniest cat, is another puzzle all together.
Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He writes for a living, and for the love of the art. He is now focused on finishing the last third of his novel. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. Listening to others, and caring about their stories has helped make his company, GreatCreative.Com, successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.