Hunting around in the dusty corners of my mind for a bit of wisdom or inspiration to share this morning, I came up with nothing but a few dust bunnies.

Not that dust bunnies aren’t fascinating.  Mayhap you are a better housekeeper than I, and have never encountered the dust bunny phenomenon.  Or, if you have seen the creatures, you immediately contain them, detain them, and toss them in the trash bin, or worse yet, tear them apart with the vacuum cleaner.  

Our house is a natural habitat for the North American Dust Bunny. It’s an unfinished house, a work in progress, and the living area furniture is arranged right on top of the concrete slab.  Now, don’t be shocked.  Some day we’ll put down tile or some other product to make it look finished, but the concrete slab as floor is highly under rated.  It holds heat in the winter, when we get the wood stove blazing.  It holds the cool in the summer after we leave the windows open at night.  

And it is a breeding ground for dust bunnies.  I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe their habits and, frankly, I find them fascinating.  They are a little shy, tending to observe the world from under the wood stove, the chairs, the dresser, where they are safe from passing foot traffic.  

I don’t mind letting a few of them alone, but excess isn’t good for anything, and the job of controlling the population of the creatures has fallen to me.  When I must pursue them with the vacuum, I deal with the guilt by telling myself that I am the agent of natural selection, that I am keeping the population healthy and vital and under control.

Sometimes I wax philosophical and try to sound the depths of the origin of dust bunnies. Why, I sometimes ask myself, do these separate and random bits of dust, hair, and grass, collect and unite to form a new and interesting entity?  How does this happen?  And what is it about concrete that seems to catalyze this process, because the Dust Bunnies here are superior in size, shape, and consistency to any I’ve encountered in the tile and linoleum kitchens of my past.

The only answer I have is that for some reason, all of these disparate bits of matter form an attraction for each other, and come together to create something new and interesting.

Something similar what happens in the writer’s brain, I believe.  It’s important to allow a few corners where particles of discarded thought can mix and mingle and take interesting new shapes.  It’s also important to find a balance in this process.  A constant life of unexamined thought will breed too many brain bunnies, and if they over proliferate they disintegrate into dust and cobwebs and no writer wants that.  Too much thought – shining the flashlight of logic into every dim corner – will route the creatures entirely and they will move on to a more hospitable environment.

It’s best to keep an eye on them, checking in from time to time with your peripheral vision, never letting on that you’re watching.  This is important, because brain bunnies are shy, and tend to disburse if you stare at them directly.  But properly handled, Brain Bunnies become Plot Bunnies and Ideas, which with some hard work and a measure of skill, can become completed stories and novels and poems. 

Well, that’s the thought for the day.  Sadly, in my literal house here on the hill, the time has come to cull the dust bunnies and I will shortly need to get out my vacuum and tear apart their fragile little lives.  But the brain bunnies live on, and I think, as I carefully peer into the corner, that there are some nearly ready for harvest.

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