The First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Mitch's paraphrase: You can't get something for nothing – but you can always try.
There was something wrong with my family. I was certain of it. If we were a normal family, why were we on a bumpy road, heading for a week of Christmas vacation on a remote Mexican beach? Had we been bad children? That could not be it; Santa had left plenty of presents. But there was no telling about a father who blew up rockets for a living, and I knew he had it in for Christmas. Our new Hanukkah menorah was huge, while the Christmas tree was reduced to a table-top twig.
This is the opening of my book, Rocket Lessons. It's no wonder I wound up confused about my religious orientation, not to mention about life. As a role model, my father made a good explosives expert. I learned how to demolish a lot of things, and also how to jury-rig my own metaphysics.
I've been thinking about this as I turn from a recently published poetry collection back to prose and wonder what to write next. A dreadful creative pause occurs after the publication of a book -- rather like the ocean withdrawing too far from the shore to be natural. It may be followed by a tidal wave of ideas, or a tidal wave of silence. In my case it's followed by the growing awareness of a drawerful of unfinished projects. An old book on pilgrimage, new essays on India and chapters from Rocket Lessons in the midst of being rehabbed as stories to send out.
The creative tide withdraws; the creative tide storms the beach. Why can't I just watch television? Everywhere I find words that spark other words, and I need a new focus. I need to start another book. I need a new burst of Rockets Away!