Mental Snow

As Jeffrey continues to learn, it’s HARD to create something from nothing.

I have nothing to write about. It always starts like that. There is nothing to say or anything important to share, but at least now there is something on paper…or the screen. Maybe a few added words here and there would make the statement appear justified or at least a little nicer. However, if I drag on this introduction with many extra and unneeded words, it begins to appear as if I am completely trying to make my blog somewhat larger without adding any truly meaningful content. Therefore, I will attempt to avoid that and work with nothing as the nuclei of a larger narrative.

Anytime someone starts a project, there is a sticking point right at the beginning where some people have no clue of what to do. In the case of blog writers, it’s finding a topic that people can connect to. In the case of a certain group of Goodnight Scholars finalists, it’s preparing for the Finalist Interview Day. Don’t worry: None of the interviewers bite. This is a universal condition of starting anything. It’s as if the starting point were the end point of a convoluted maze leading to yet another maze. It’s a checkpoint in the larger scheme.

It’s funny how that works. You can write about anything, even nothing. Nothing is still an idea that can grow into a story. Personally, I enjoy stories, so I seek out little narratives everywhere I think I can find one. I remember finding a video game entirely based on the connectedness of two comets on a collision course towards Earth; the developer anthropomorphized the comets to have personalities without any verbal communication. It was about the impact of action rather than words. Another game I found was based on the concept of imprisonment with limited contact with the outside world after an apocalyptic virus outbreak. The main character was trapped in a sort of jail and receives letters from his best friend and an unknown woman who have survived the outbreak. It was the kind of game that didn’t have the best graphics, but the story was compelling. Seriously, where do the people that create these stories get their ideas? There are some amazingly surreal stories out there.

I like to think that the people who come up with these crazy ideas collect tiny bits of ideas until eventually something clicks, and the narrative aggregate begins to take shape. Whenever I start writing my blog, I write everything that comes to mind at the bottom of the page. You never see it, but my list has phrases from “I have nothing to write about” to “Rainforest Pants.” Yeah, I have no idea where that came from either, but it may be interesting to expand on the idea of “Rainforest Pants.” There are so many directions you could take with Rainforest Pants. It could be a result of an intense workout at the gym or even a new product that protects you from the harshest of rainforest related dangers like poison dart frogs and anacondas. The pants could even literally be a rainforest on a fictional giant roaming across a colossal plain on the back of an incomprehensibly massive sea turtle or something.  Anyways, I digress.

Imagine what we could do if everyone wrote their ideas down, even if they were a bit pointless. Imagine all of the inventions that would come out of that exercise. For example, DaVinci had crazy ideas in his notebooks for helicopters and submarines which ultimately led to the advent of functional submarines and helicopters after people kept expanding on the initial idea. How about “nothing”? Is “nothing” an expandable idea? Nothing has been debated about by philosophers and scientist’s alike for decades. What is nothing? Is empty space really empty space or is there something hiding in the perceived emptiness?  The search for something in nothing is the history of human thought. We seek for answers in something that we never initially understand or can even sense. There is something out there hiding within the nothing that makes the search worthwhile if difficult. In other words, nothing has a story to tell. This is interesting! What kind of story can nothing tell? Is it suspenseful? Is it novel? Perhaps the story is better described as the movement of an initial idea in a mental cloud, erratically pushed by the winds of mental space until it collects enough icy particles of thought to fall to the ground and join the millions of other thoughts on the landscape of the NC State community which is just a piece of the expansive aggregate cognitive snow-covered landscape that comprises our society. Even if your idea is literally the concept of nothing, it still has a story to tell, and you are the only one capable of telling it.