David. N. Zimmer
An open letter to all creators...
Do you know how many people in the United States believe in angels? Somewhere in the vicinity of 178 million. That’s about half. Half of these United States. Wow. That seemed kind of high, but I checked. Well, I googled it to make sure, and still, the numbers kind of check out. Wow again!
We all got a chuckle out of that. We talk about it on our days off; we chat about this and that. And sometimes what you guys do comes up. Actually, it always comes up, because we just do what we’re supposed to. But you guys, hoo boy! You almost never do what you’re supposed to. I mean, you do sometimes but almost never. And what you do actually do? Oh my God…
Oops, sorry. Not supposed to do that. Almost never. Except when its high praise or awe. There’s lots and lots of awe around here. We almost never talk about the awe, but we do experience it. You guys say everything is ‘awesome.’ Like, ‘Hey man, I had an orange today and it was awesome.’ Or, ‘Did you see Jerry’s new phone?’ ‘Yeah, it’s awesome!’
Nope. It wasn’t awesome. It was pretty, or useful, or expensive. But it wasn’t awesome. A rainbow spontaneously igniting and dropping stone flower petals on four hundred foot tall glowing paramecium? Now that’s awesome. And ordinary. I get to see stuff like that all of the time. But only on my days off, back in the dormitory with the others. Looking at the awesome spectacle is one of the best things I get to do on my days off. That, and talking with the others.
My best friend is Allen, with an ‘E.’ He’s pretty cool. He has these pointy, grey suede loafers with tassels that, when they catch just the right light, are so close to awesome that it’s almost awesome. On our days off, we talk about you guys and the things you do that make us laugh or cry or shake our heads—mostly shake our heads. We shake our heads so much it’s good that we don’t have bells tied to our heads or the noise would give us killer headaches. Shake, shake, shake, all day long.
But we don’t shake our fingers. That’s not our job. Omar might shake his finger, but he is pretty far up the ladder and he gets to judge a lot. Every morning he climbs Jacob’s Ladder and shakes his fingers at you guys. Lol. Climbs the ladder? Too much. That one isn’t actually mine. Alan came up with that one. Alan with an ‘A.’ He’s real funny, but only when he’s not working. Mostly, Alan scares the hell out of us. Lol. That’s another one of his.
I am so grateful for my days off. My job takes everything out of me. I should sleep more, but that isn’t part of the job either. Nor is it a part of my days off. My days off consist of not doing my job, and that’s it. I mostly talk to Allen or Alan. And we mostly talk about you guys. We never talk about our jobs. Not because they’re boring. Oh heavens no. Lol. Alan again. I don’t remember when he came up with that one, but we use it all of the time now. Oh my heavens, yes. (Thank you Alan)!
I guess I can tell you about my job… I stipple sunlight. It’s not as easy as it sounds. And it changes from day to day. At night, I stipple starlight, or moonlight, or even the errant solar flare. A couple of times a year, I get to stipple eclipses. The variations are, of course, infinite. Infinity is not my purview either. That would be Omicron X. I have to fall to my knees when I say that so I almost never do—keeps my knees safe. But I get to muse on infinity. I have a lot of time… When I’m not stippling.
Allen is my bestie. He dapples sunlight. I guess that’s why we are such good friends. He spends a lot of time lying on his back beneath oak trees. When the sun peeks out from behind a cloud (that would be Siu Ming, a real artist of subtlety and extreme glaring when the situation calls for it—he does all of the ‘sun peeking out from cloud’ styles), Allen dapples the leaves. It’s a lot of green, but there is, of course, an infinite variety of greens. There are more Greens in Nature than any other colour. Perhaps, an infinite number of green shades. And Allen can dapple them all.
I’m not boasting. It’s not in my nature. Allen is the master of dappling. He dapples animal fur as well but that isn’t his main task. He dapples. And no one else dapples. And I stipple. And no one else stipples. Again, I’m not boasting. It’s just what I do, what we do, that’s all. He dapples and I stipple. It is exhausting. I’m not complaining, heaven forbid (Alan again!).
So, you guys have some funny ideas about us. I mean so many of you believe in us, and that’s nice, but it’s also weird. What do you believe anyway? I mean, here we are. And we’re doing our work every day, but we’re not helping your sports team win or lose, or getting you a new car, or winning lotto ticket, or almost anything like that…
If you want stupid stuff done, then maybe you should spend more time believing in demons. Of course, they exist too, and I don’t know much about them. You could ask Daoud the Mighty, but I can’t even bring myself to look upon his terrible fierce and mighty countenance. I’ve heard he’s quite handsome, but he’s not my type.
Okay, there are both angels and demons. And we’re everywhere. And we’re doing our thing all day and all night. I already told you that I stipple and Allen dapples, but still you persist in asking for all kinds of things. You guys can invent television sets that fit into your pockets. Isn’t that enough? Mostly we produce wonders most delightful. And you say that you can commune with us? I don’t think so...
You need to look to your artists! That’s right, you heard me. Artists mostly produce wonders most delightful too.Them we commune with. Well, not me, or Allen, or Alan, even though he can slip a quip into some Henny, Benny or Lenny’s night club routine. You should commune with your musicians, your visual artists, your writers. They beseech us. They take us into their hearts. And we can sit down with them. And we can help them with their dilemmas. How do they spin dross into gold? Inspiration! They ask not with their mouths but with their hearts, with their desire to create works most wondrous. And they often do.
Do you want to believe in angels and demons? Then read, go to art galleries, listen to music, watch films—all of that. That’s where you’ll find them. Excuse me, the sun just peeked out from some impressive clouds and both Alan and Siu Ming are working their butts off. And here I go, stippling again.
Dedicated to all of the wonderful contributors to Þ (‘Thorn’) Literary Magazine.
David N. Zimmer,
Guest Editor–Summer, 2020