“In Life’s Laboratory” Fiction. Based on a True Series of Flops.

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“…only because you enjoyed feeling special, needed, strong, and powerful.” – Anastasia Cosima

In Life’s Laboratory

Fiction. Based on a true series of flops,

By Leanna Glenn Markham

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

We’re all inventors of a sort,
toiling away in life’s laboratory,
tweaking this and that
to make it all work.

We employ different materials,
add varied experiences,
blended with a mix of relationships,
and see if it flies.

Except sometimes we don’t even
know what we’re after.
A “successful” life?
If so, by whose definition?
Peace? Or does that just mean
Insulation from pain and outer realities?

Or do we want, or better,
do I, want the acclaim of a
hotshot inventor?
They say that inventors in Edison’s day
enjoyed–or suffered–the fanatical following
that rock and pop stars do today.

But do I care for the adulation
of people who may admire
my brilliance–I speak hypothetically–
but not care for my day-to-day

At my lab table now,
I see all my stuff arrayed–
Prototypes that look good
but don’t function.
Things I spent years on
that could work, maybe,
if I released them from the lab
into the world.

I flip open a manual, its pages worn,
its wisdom, timeless.
I hear myself sigh.
“Teaching is a light;
corrective instructions
are a way of life.”

So what am I missing?
What am I doing wrong?
I turn the page.

“For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.”

Fountain. Water.
I pour myself a tall, cool glassful
and slake a thirst I’ve long ignored.
Already, I’m more alive
than a few moments before.
My blood tingles.

Light. Light?
I look toward the drape-covered windows.
Flinging back the heavy cloth,
I’m showered in sunshine.
A whole world of color
And shadow,
Fills my sight.
I take it in and in.

Now my laboratory
Vibrates with hope.
I set aside the old models,
The things that don’t work
And the aspirations
of what won’t satisfy.

I set my hands toward
Life today. Now.

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