A Lovely Hat

January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

This just showed up as an ad on my Gmail: You can make a lovely hat out of previously-used aluminum foil.

Of course I can! I can make a lovely hat out of torn panties, lost teeth, a vacuum cleaner bag full of cat hair, a week’s mail! I can make an entire outfit out of the works of Dostoevsky, in yellowing paperback, and wear it only in my apartment while engaging in unmentionable activities before a three-way mirror.

I’m what they call “a creative.” We’re the bastard children of gods and cuckoo birds, first generation; in succeeding generations, ants and dust devils married in. We’re adored, despised, laughed at, kicked and courted. We thrive in the gaps between thoughts, where banished ideas lurk, selling swampland to the newbies. We bleed too much. We believe in blood magic. We know the moon is made of green cheese. We don’t know what we’re talking about but it doesn’t matter because when all else fails, we can make a lovely hat, and a person wearing a lovely hat will find her destiny before midnight.

Have you ever wondered how Creatives live? Whether they have health insurance, IRAs, foot massages? Do you know how many get lost in those gaps between thoughts and are never found again because everyone assumes they’ve taken a powder, taken the veil or taken to not answering phone calls while they write/paint/compose the next great thing? “Oh, she was always a wanderer,” they say, even if she never left  New York. It was the way she talked, as if she’d been everywhere. It was her descriptions of past lives, which sounded like vacations among eccentric and doting relatives. “She’ll turn up when you least expect her, mark my words,” people say heartily as the plot thickens and she’s trapped in its gluey custard, realizing at last that nothing is to be trusted, ideas least of all, that she, who thought herself a treasured visitor, a recorder of secrets, is in fact food for thought and thought gets hungry.

Without us, lovely hats would never be made or even imagined. Hats of any kind would disappear. Previously used aluminum foil would languish in landfills, never again to be humble and useful, bright and flashing, snug around your leftovers or your unexceptional head. You’d miss us, really.





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