On the space between the spark and the flame

This is where it all happens... or doesn't... this space between the spark and the flame, this place I call the ether...

So much of me lives and dies here.

Any discipline I exert, any principles I apply, any expertise I draw upon... all are inconsequential here.

This is the domain of the poet, the playwright, the painter, the tunesmith, the intellectual, the philosopher, the visionary... every creative spirit. The truest work is accomplished here, outside the realm of the tangible, beyond the confines of the sensual... here, in the ether, between the spark and the flame.

The spark, one of a million possible points of conception, may be discernible and, in hindsight, quite obvious:

"It all began when I saw the fawn furtively drinking from a clear blue stream..."

"It was precipitated by the death of my only brother..."

"It was as if the wings of the butterfly were sails on an orange sea..."

"It was when that apple fell on my head..."

Then what? Did there suddenly appear a poem, a song, a story, a great invention or discovery or innovation or illumination? Ah, don't we wish it were so! But alas, no. Rather, somewhere between that first spark of insight and the final glorious flame, countless synaptic paths are traversed, boundless oceans of pleasure and pain and chaos, deep in the psyche, deep in the heart and soul. Indeed, this is where the real work takes place, somewhere in that vast inexplicable, indescribable, unaccountable space between the spark and the flame...

It is a lonely place, complete in its solitude, where no one and no thing may enter without sacrifice; I am here alone. I am both an active participant and a hapless bystander. I move through this ether faster than light, faster than darkness, all the while standing stupid and slack-jawed as I am overtaken. I am both kinetic and paralyzed, eager to run through this strange terrain, yet terrified to move at all lest it vaporize, leaving me desolate and desperate, clutching to nothing but ashes.

In this wondrous realm, where the spark can suddenly explode into flame, the result may be but six short lines of a song with an as-yet-unknown melody:

                              Seeing is believing,

                              But I just couldn't see it,

                              That everyone around me

                              And every living thing

                              Eventually surrenders,

                              Welcoming the silence...

That's it?! That's the only fire your spark produced?! You call that a flame?! Please!

Yep, that's it. That's the only scorch mark visible upon the page. But those six short lines can carry a heat and a light that may kindle another spark, crackling with the possibility of combustion. And there are other sparks as well, distant stars in an inky canopy, obscured, but glowing, ever glowing, behind the glare of blinding suns. Oh, there is such a vast universe of starsongs just there beyond our field of vision, waiting to be discovered, in that strange and beautiful place...

the space between the spark and the flame...

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