“In a world of words, strive to be paper.”

It’s Thursday morning, and for some reason, I woke up at 2:00 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. I think it’s another round of stress-induced insomnia.

For me, insomnia happens when I’m over-anticipating something, or a personal event has me all twisted up in angst. Then, in the middle of the night, I’m awake, and I can’t go back to sleep. No amount of late-night snacks can rest my soul. No amount of YouTube clips about guys making tables out of old pallet wood, or dudes melting copper wire into ingots, can return me to slumber.

And last Thursday night, I had a fragment of a half-dream resonating in my skull.

“In a world of words, strive to be paper.”

Okay … I think … I’m not sure where this is coming from.

Anyway, I made it through Thursday, went to bed early, and Friday morning – around 1:30 a.m. – I woke back up. Ugh. Not again.

And for some reason … that fragment of a message returned to my consciousness.

“In a world of words, strive to be paper.”

Okay. If this is going to keep me awake, the least I can do is attempt to decipher its message.

Maybe it has something to do with writing. Gather the words together, like a shepherd does with sheep. Take the lost lambs and bring them back to the fold. Or the crease, depending on whether you fold the paper in half or not.

Or perhaps it is related to opinion. Everyone has an opinion on things, and the best you can do in this world is acknowledge all opinions and make something solid from them. Be the paper that gathers the opinions.

Or maybe it’s involving a message of some sort. A message of interconnectivity. That I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the skies, I have a right to be here. No, now I’m quoting that old “Desiderata” song. Shame on me.

It’s possibly the permanency of what we say. We can spout off about many topics, but it seems that once we attach our topics to some sort of manuscript or doctrine, then those thoughts become a permanent statement. Part of our raison d’etre.

All right, let’s do a little crowd-sourcing. Hey Google, can you find me something that references this mental mantra?

Yeah, thanks, Google. Fat lotta help you are. You know when I spend five minutes buying diet cola at the gas station, but you can’t help me with this?

Well, maybe something will turn up if I use Microsoft Bing.

Great. First time I use Microsoft Bing, and they drop the ball. May have to resort to AskJeeves or Lycos or AltaVista to get an answer.

Or maybe … just maybe … this could be a veiled mental challenge to create an artwork that uses words as its own construct. Photographing a dilapidated sign, for instance. Or reconstituting one of my old low-fi art techniques into something that involves advertising or mnemonics.

The problem is … dreams only become vibrant and memorable if you immediately write them down the second you wake up. Write them down. They may not make sense at that very moment, but in the morning, after you’ve had that first cup of coffee and a decent morning shower, something about what you wrote down may make total sense.

Not the way you originally expected that it would.

So there’s that.

“In a world of words, strive to be paper.”

There’s something in that mantra. Some chunk of a Zen koan.

I might not understand it today.

But check back with me in a few months. 😀