Thoughts About the Universe These Mornings by Laura Marello

Everything is connected.

Most of what the universe energy is, creation/destruction energy, we don’t understand.

We underestimate the intelligence of other living things—other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria—perhaps we underestimate what is actually alive—and sentient—this planet, the creative energy that created this solar system and everything beyond.

What is the purpose of spiritual feelings—feelings of oneness with all life on the planet, with the universe, feeling of a connection to the universe?

What is the purpose of what living things—plants, animals, human animals, and perhaps fungi and bacteria—discover when exposed to psychedelic chemicals in mushrooms and fungi?

Why does it seem to us to be a link to the universe—fractals, geometric shapes, the energy of  love? Sacred geometry—what is it telling us about the universe and its intelligence?

Rock art—with figures that look like they have space helmets on, (not just animal faces or antlers) or rock art of things that look like space ships? What did ancient cultures know that we don’t know? That we lost? forgot? didn’t pass down?

What knowledge was lost in Medieval times? other times?

Is the energy of the universe love? Does it contain love? all or a component? Why do we feel joy and love when experiencing universe?

If there is an energy or force or intelligence that designed or shaped what is here—I assume they were restricted by the limitations of physics.

I don’t think we as human animals are intelligent or enlightened enough to understand why the universe is here, or how/why it was created (beyond the mechanical) or what created it.

Most natural things on earth are animate and conscious, though we do not think of them as alive (e.g.: rocks, soil) and most plants are conscious, though we don’t think of them as sentient even though we concede they are alive (studies now show trees help each other, communicate, share resources, heal each other, etc.).

Scientists are reporting a large hole in the sun’s surface. What does it mean? will it expand? will the light and heat of the sun dim? will this kill life on Earth, not a meteorite?

Colorful swirl in space
Universe by Media Scope Group OÜ. CC license.

Writers on Craft Series

Editor Trudy Hale: How does your understanding of the universe inform your writing?

Response by Laura Marello:

My understanding of the universe informs my writing process in several ways. First, as many writers tell you, when the writing flows, it feels as if it is coming through you, from somewhere beyond you. Where could this be from, except the universe?

Next, I think many people who create, whether they be writers, visual artists, composers, dancers, musicians, actors, scientists—have a feeling of childlike awe and pleasure toward some things. I have that feeling toward nature, toward the universe, toward many people and things I particularly like but find mysterious.

Next, if the universe and everything in it is connected, you are not just writing through yourself or for those who might read your work. You might be imagining and writing through your ancestors, or through time, or for readers in the future. I’ve written things in novels that I thought I had imagined that turned out had actually happened. I’ve written an incident between brothers that I thought was an accident, only to re-read it and discover one brother intended the other harm.

Knowing about fractals and sacred geometry and what people see on psylocibin or DMT or peyote, reminds me that what we see is limited. It reminds me that I am free to imagine. And that I should feel free to imagine. We can write about what could be real. Magical realism need not be limited to those writers who were raised in Latin America or have Latin American origins.

It’s a mixing of what is and what could be that I’ve always been drawn to, even before I knew what Magic Realism was and is. I could cite my Spanish, Portuguese, Celtic origins, and show you (on my National Geographic Mitochondrial DNA map) my maternal ancestors’ trail through Greece, Spain, Portugal, up through Ireland and Scotland to justify my choices, but I prefer to think that any of us whose imagination leans this way should be accepted as someone who writes this way.

My understanding of the universe also allows me to write about plants, animals, as highly intelligent, highly sentient creatures. (I’ve always thought we were the current race of dinosaurs on the planet, raging around being destructive, and that everyone else, all the plants and animals, were more intelligent than us.)

I suppose my feeling that most of the components of the universe are unknown and not yet understood by us, allows me to imagine, not just imagine the universe, but imagine other times on our planet, other cultures, other people. Readers often ask me how I do this, write about other times, other cultures. I tell them—I imagine it, then I research, and then I imagine it again.

Finally, I think trusting the universe allows you to trust your intuition as a writer, at least for the first draft. After that you will need to hone and direct and clean up what you’ve written. But the essence of the work can emerge first through intuition. This makes it very interesting, makes it a journey—the way living on our planet, in this unknown and perhaps unfathomable universe, is a journey.

Laura Marello
Laura Marello is the author of novels Matisse: The Only Blue, (2022), Gauguin’s Moon (2019), Maniac Drifter (2015), Tenants of the Hotel Biron (2012), and Claiming Kin (2010) with Guernica Editions. The Gender of Inanimate Objects and Other Stories (2015), Tailwinds Press, was shortlisted for the Saroyan Prize in Literature. Her chapbook Balzac’s Robe (2015) is out with Finishing Line Press. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, and a Fine Arts Work Center Provincetown Fellowship.

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