|Ice Cube Press|
Steven Semken authored "Breaking Silence" in the MWC Creative Writing Primer (MWC Press, 2012) and is publisher of Ice Cube Press, an independent publisher promoting books on how we can best learn to live in the Midwest. @icecubepress
A long time ago I wrote a sentence that still interests me: "Surprise is knowledge's victory."
I don't know if I understood what I really meant, but I do know that the thrill of writing is discovery, possibility, and creativity. I start then, like this—watercolor writing is a long, drawn-out brushstroke inspired by sunset. This June evening the sky is whisking with variety. The tips of trees are touched lightly by a falling sun. The yellow sun is doing a painting, circled by no more no less than a full ring of big blue sky, of which I feel a dot in the center, a drop of watercolor spreading free in a colored sunset behind me—pinks, greens, reds, violet, browns, whites, blues, everything is merging into the deep full moon color, into some indescribable tone of burgundy purple. The longer and longer shadows have merged with nighttime dirt. An owl hoot-hoots, a nuthatch churns out its last upside-down song. The sky and the shadows have now almost touched and joined as one, there is just a thin line of golden sunlight between the two and then an alpenglow casts a halo over all.
I think to myself, as Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, truly the world is “a work of art that gives birth to itself.” I am constantly aware of the realm of possibility, creativity, surprise. A world awaits any writer that is able to balance their eyes somewhere between open and shut.