Home Alone in the Multiverse by William C. Dell Genre: Speculative Nonfiction
One day, looking at my beer bottle the label said: "Don't Forget You're Here Forever." This book is about how that can be. We are in a multiverse of island universes floating in a boundless field. I am proposing that every single thing - large and small, animate or inanimate - is a separate universe, all strung together, alone, in an eternal multiverse. As a universe, you are here forever.
I defer to my fellow creatures Jack Rabbit and Gray Squirrel, who have seen the worlds, for assistance.
“What happens when you die?” wondered Jack Rabbit.
“I have no idea,” replied Gray Squirrel. “I guess I run out of nuts.
“And lettuce and carrots,” added Jack.
“Maybe we should ask Voice.” said Gray.
“Are you still there?” inquired Jack.
“I am always here,” answered Voice. All you have to do is listen.”
“Well, what happens when you die?”
“You go into stars as points of light.”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been there. So have you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I remember. You don’t. Otherwise you wouldn’t be asking.”
“Ok, then what happens?”
“You hang around for a while.”
“Depends on how attached you are.”
“This world,” explained Voice.
“Yes, there are many worlds,” Jack nodded.
“We’ve been there,” said Gray.
“But what happens when you die?” Jack asked again.
“When you let go, you dissipate,” replied Voice.
“Nothing??” exploded Gray.
“No,” responded Voice silently.
“You’re not making sense!” shouted Jack Rabbit, jumping up and down.
“Beyond light is only you,” commented Voice gently.
“And what are we?” demanded Jack and Gray.
“Your own vibration or information. Everyone is different.”
“What does vibration do?”
“It disturbs emptiness into you again”
“You are saying we pick up where we left off.”
“Every single thing?”
“To what end?”
“We go on as ourselves indefinitely?”
“Yes, until you are empty.”
William C. Dell is Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Montclair State University, New Jersey. His published works include metaphysics, poetry, inter-disciplinary studies, and literary criticism.
WRITING FOR NOTHING, or WHAT THE BLUEBIRD SAID
By William C. Dell
While working on my book Deconstructing Zen, I observed a bluebird couple in my backyard. One morning, the male bluebird left a pattern of twigs he was using for a nest on my deck railing. I made a sketch of the twigs, and then he removed them in the evening. I thought, “What wonderful Zen!” That became the cover of my book.
Writing is an image for ineffable content, a noise on the surface of silence. The fundamental urge for expression comes from the realization of empty potentiality. Make something, so you are not alone. The image can be anything – a nest, a novel, a documentary, a song, a treatise, a poem. When you write, paint, dance, sing, or simply speak, you are creating something out of nothing – something that has never existed before you. Stay focused, therefore, not on what you produce, but on your source in silence.
Removing his nesting twigs, the bluebird expressed a boundless space for what could happen next. Writing is like building a nest, where the twigs are words enveloped in vacant air. To do their job, they must have room to breathe. When you write, try to let every word, sentence, and paragraph live and manifest that unsayable potentiality which upholds them. Here are some specific suggestions.
Attempt a different kind of flow. Rather than moving from one word to another, move from one empty space to another using a word.
Being aware of the silence which upholds words gives them more substance and weight.
In this sense, what you do not say can be much more important than what you do.
Avoid the noise of too many words to say the same thing.
Keep sentences clear and fluent on the surface of silence.
Staying focused on the vacancy surrounding words, not the words themselves, they sort themselves out of potentiality, naturally and powerfully.
Understanding writing as image is a key to honing skill and developing content. Whether a narrative on a pin, or a dialogue between persons (comic or tragic), there is an ineffability which, if sounded, enlarges and edifies the composition.
Although this little piece leans more to the philosophical than the practical, it can serve, perhaps, as a humble reminder of our creative source. Anyway, that’s what the bluebird said.
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