Dudley’s bookstore writer’s group met on April 17, 2017 at Ahonu and Angeal Rose’s home. Usually, we do a random prompt from a random book. The book is chosen at random by one person, from it another person chooses unseen a random page number. Then an unseen line number is chosen by yet another person. After we have read that random prompt line aloud a timer is set to 45 minutes. Strange things soon come out of our fingers and when the timer rings we do five minutes of proofreading. With trepidation, we read aloud our desperate efforts.
Today there was a need to create a title for our coming book and we settled on – Clockwork Purple. Because of the need for an explanation for the strange title we chose “Clockwork Purple” for our prompt. Weird was in the air, prose was in our minds and the timer was set. … START!
A blank of confusion has settled into my mind. “I have nothing to say!” Everyone agrees that my life is empty, meaningless and that my behavior is weird. Those strange words are not me, not the real me, and I am not a clockwork and I am not purple. Those are external fantasies imposed through words by other people’s expostulations vibrating in the air. That’s not the reality of who I am.
I’m just a person interested in solving problems that face me and especially those problems that confront all humanity. I prefer to ponder problems where I can contribute a meaningful new idea into the current of human understanding. That is, I seek to add something significant into the vastness of human wisdom.
There is an infinity of problems to be found and I do mean infinity in the mathematical sense of the word; the infinite vastness beyond the current human situation and comprehension. There is an infinity of undiscovered problems beyond those met by the hundred billion people who have lived on this Earth.
There are without doubt problems that could be discovered and revealed now with a simple declarative statement. Undoubtedly a sentence, a phrase, even a few words could be said at this moment that would change humanity forever. For example, a common simple phrase known now by nearly everyone was unknown by anyone two-hundred years ago. It changed the world. There are many other examples, but the phrase “survival of the fittest” has had a major impact on all humanity. That idea was obvious even to Adam Smith in his book Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, some eight decades before Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859, but Smith didn’t understand its broader applications and limited his idea to a “hidden hand” that brings about the survival of the fittest in business. Darwin et al. expanded the concept to biologically adaptive things and not just to business. Darwin’s phrase had a much broader application and vastly greater impact than Smith’s.
There are in all likelihood many ideas and short sentences as powerful as “survival of the fittest” that could be stated right now by you; but they haven’t been said, at least not said in a way that reached the public and “went viral.” Those are the ideas I like to search for and the strange places I like to seek out and explore. It is a simple thing to be doing, and it seems like everyone is doing it every moment of their lives.
So … Why am I said to be weird? I dress in clothing that isn’t particularly different. I speak with common English words. My grammar is apparently understandable to the people I meet. From the feedback I get from others it appears the thoughts I express are generally understood. I try diligently to obey all laws and never lie. So, I ask again … Why am I considered weird?
The prompt – “Clockwork Purple” – is a simple English phrase. The word “purple” refers to a common color and is a common word. The word “clockwork” is a bit unusual, but it’s an easy compound of two very common words and is easily understood. In our writer’s group, the usage implies a clock in our background guiding the timing of our work and encouraging prompt productivity. And, the word “purple” is commonly associated with florid spontaneous writing. Thus, the title for our book “Clockwork Purple” is descriptive as well as colorful, and it implies the exploration of the outer realms of our present reality.
Our title, “Clockwork Purple,” implies weird, but it also implies prompt, important, colorful and royal.