Kara Neko and Brittany

Ibn Arabi, a venerable Sufi mystic, understood reality as the breath of Allah—praise upon him.

All was tohu va bohu until Allah—praise upon him—breathed out, creating the world. But, upon breathing in again this newly world vanished, returning to Him to be annihilated. Until he breathes out again, calling another completely formed reality into existence.

This notion is called continuous creation.

In case that is not entirely clear there is one of those rare perfectly serving metaphors: cinema. A reel of film consists of thousands of individual frames. Each frame only a little different than the one before and after it. As the strip runs through the projector at a continuous rate, a shutter that blocks each frame as it appears and before it disappears; thus the stream of discontinuous images appear to be continuous, fluid.

Over the last four years, I have spent a lot of time thinking about stories: making some up, listening to others them their own, stripping them down like that crazy uncle who thinks he can not only fix the toaster but make it work better if he can only get it put back together again.

And I am realizing that well-told stories are almost always acts of continuous creation.

Take these two exquisite young women in the above photograph image. (’Photograph’ as it’s likely this is a 6×7 image scanned from 120 color negative film. EDIT: Kara contacted me to correct this was taken with an iPhone by her boyfriend.) Despite the awkwardness of the framing—seriously we all see you are observing the rule of thirds but nothing was gained by this not being framed horizontally!)—this is a seed which contains an entire narrative within it.

Look at just what is within the frame: an uninspired bedroom in a small apartment, daylight streams through the windows (yes, plural—check the mirror over the bed).

Invariably, despite even Hollywood’s best efforts one lover always ends up undressed before the other. And here the naked one leans towards the other eyeing her bust line—her pose is assertive, communicating a physical desire but her distance is close enough to make her desire clear but still respectful of possible reservations. She of the bustier appears uncertain, her hands a mix of openness and hesitation.

The story is here. There are different ways it can go, yes. But one person is more in love than the other. Both see the edge of the cliff approaching but what you survive is always preferable to what might have been. The tension holds even though we already know how it all ends already.