Saturday, May 11, 2013

Transmogrify


I’ve been looking at it for some days now, and I still can’t get my eyes of it. It’s an utterly alien concept, having your own work published. Wonderful, amazing, magical even, but very strange at the same time. I know it doesn’t seem like much: four pieces of my hand in a University student publication, but it feels like more than that. The thing which makes this different than the 53 blog posts I have published by now, is that it feels somehow more real. A blog is something you write and manage on your own. A magazine involves different steps, deadlines, third parties and buyers (which is a rather strange concept as well: people paying for the things you’ve written). It’s an arduous process, and while I’ve listened to a plethora of complaints from my editorial peers, all of them were pleased with the result. Seeing your own work in print isn’t something which happens every day, after all.   
    To transmogrify is used chiefly in a humorous way, and means ‘to transform in a surprising or magical manner’. The origin of the word is uncertain, but there are various speculations relating to it. One is that it’s a perversion (a mispronunciation or misspelling which got accepted over time) of ‘transmigration’ (which refers to the passing into a different body of the soul after death). Another is that it’s a humorous blending of ‘transfigure’ and ‘modify’. It seems that the transfiguration of ‘to transmogrify’ is quite surprising and magical in its own right. Which just tickles me silly. 
    The magazine (you can check out the website here; the electronic version of it isn’t published yet, but when it is I’ll leave a link here) is lying here next to me even as I type this. Now and then I reach out to feel the cover, thumb through the pages, feel the air move as a page turns. I stare stupidly at the words and the pictures. It’s pretty miraculous, when you think about it. One day you get a crazy idea. You get the crazy idea down on paper. The idea turns into a story. Fantasy becomes dream becomes ambition becomes plan becomes reality. The human brain is pretty amazing.
    How something as futile and evanescent as a thought can suddenly be transmogrified into a physical thing is to me one of the miracles of humanity. My idea was printed into a magazine. A magazine has three dimensions. It has weight. It is tangible. It takes up space in your bag. You can put it on the table. You can drop it on the floor. You can rip it apart if you want. You can leave coffee stains on it. An idea is such a singular and useless thing. Only when your ideas get bulk, they become useful.  
    Another guy who was pretty great at transmogrification was God. Though I don’t really believe in his existence, he is a pretty interesting thing to talk about - purely hypothetically, of course - especially when talking about creation. After all, God must have had some flimsy idea in his head, some kind of plan or ambition to start creating before he started. Unlike me, God was very practical. I’ve noticed that if I want to finish anything, I need deadlines. And while technically the Bible doesn’t say that God created time, he did make night and day, which conventionally are considered units of time. So assuming that God created time, and considering the fact that he finished the job in six days, one assumes that he must have been on some sort of a deadline. Practical guy he was, God. 
    And in the line of organically instigated time units, there is a process which happens four times a year which never fails to bring about some peculiar phenomena in human behavior. As spring starts to settle in (I apologize for my readers on the other end of the equator), the season for spring cleanings has started again. The sun stays in the living room just a little longer, and suddenly you see the spider thread that’s been waving at you all winter (whoring for your attention, no doubt). And the empty flower pot (the plant died because of insufficient irrigation). And the clutter of miscellaneous items which were allowed to wander about the house (they were moved a couple of times during winter to give you the impression of ‘tidying’). But as the golden rays start poking these items you become painfully aware that something should probably happen. And through a series of incomprehensible biological processes suddenly you take out the dust rag and a swab, and you say, ‘No more!’ Spring cleaning brings about a miraculous transmogrification in the household (not my household, mind you - my room is as messy as my strange associative mind). An astounding amount of trash gets thrown away (how did it get there, anyway?), the floors are scrubbed, every nook and cranny gets scrutinized by a critical (and often maternal) eye. As my maternal eye has hardly developed yet, I can’t say that the clutter bothers me as much (creative minds are rarely tidy, after all). I should probably get to it one of these days, though. Then again, maybe not. It could probably wait a little longer. Right?
    As illustrated, transmogrification can occur in various aspects of your life, and if it occurs, it’s almost always a (pleasant) surprise. As someone who happens to love surprises (yes, this is a hint), I can’t say that transmogrification is something I’d ever call a bad experience. Though I still don’t like cleaning. No sirree. Maybe God could help me out in that department, he being the practical person of us two. But I don’t believe in God. Damnit.  

1 comment:

  1. My favorite line: "you see the spider thread that’s been waving at you all winter (whoring for your attention, no doubt)." That imagery is just great! Also, you picked one of my favorite words ever.

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