Night Questions

One night, before I had interviewed a single author, before I had written a single blog or taught a single class, I was lying in bed not sleeping, and wondering what was wrong with me. Something had to be wrong with me. How else could I explain my circumstance of wasted potential? If I could just figure out what was wrong with me I could fix it and never feel like I was feeling at that moment ever again. My bed had become a hive of despair. I needed something different. I slipped out of my covers and shuffled to my living room and sat in the darkness. This was not the first time I had tried to answer this question of what was wrong with me. I had asked and asked this question, and I called the silence with which I was answered failure. So on this night, I decided I would ask something different.

That’s when I remembered Richard Dawkins. He and Christopher Hitchens had just written books about the scientific improbability of God, which had restimulated the old God versus Evolution debate. Listening to this public rancor, I thought, “They’re talking about different sides of the same coin. God is Evolution.” What an interesting thought, I thought. I’ll have to think about that some more.

And so that night I asked myself, “Why does that seem so true to me? And how could I explain it to someone else?” As I asked that question, answers began arriving, and in my imagination I translated those answers for an imagined audience. I was feeling better. So I asked more questions about God and Evolution and I got more answers and I felt even better and better until I looked up from my imagined lecture and realized I could go back to sleep.

And as I walked from the couch to my bed it occurred to me that not only hadn’t I answered that first question, but I also no longer wanted to ask it. Only ten minutes before it had burned with the urgency of a house on fire. How alone I had felt as the fires raged around me, yet how quickly those flames were extinguished when I saw that my imagination would answer all my questions but one.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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