2014.09.22

fissiparous
adjective:

  1. Tending to break into parts.
  2. Reproducing by biological fission.

Today’s word is my favourite kind of word. It’s something specific–in this case, related to the field of biological science–but we’ve changed–no, added–a metaphorical meaning. Fissiparous was a happy word for happy biologists until the writers got a hold of it. Now we can use it for anything, for cooking, for relationships, for family dynamics, for love.

Writers are always looking for some new metaphor about love. “Tending to break into parts”–something which is fragile, but perhaps, meant to be fragile. Like this candy glass goblets they make movie sets when a fight is imminent. Like paper towels with their perforated sections. Like paper notebooks with pages meant to be ripped out and shared. Not everything we make is supposed to last forever. Sometimes, it’s better to make it with an escape hatch in mind. A prenuptial isn’t an admission of defeat before the marriage even begins. It’s practical. It’s safe. It’s a compromise between two parties that says, we’re going to give this our best shot. But we both know that things don’t always work out in this crazy world of ours. Maybe it’s best if we think about this stuff now, while we’re of our right minds, before we let it get to the yelling and lawyers phase. Because by the time we’re yelling at each other, we don’t know what we want and what we need. We know now. We know that this thing called love has a tendency to break into parts. Let’s talk about those parts, the way we talk about who does the washing and who does the drying. I hate bathrooms, so you clean the toilet and I’ll take out the garbage.

We break our life into parts, so why don’t we break up our relationships, too? It’s the only way I know to get anything done. It’s the only way I know how to write a book. I can’t sit down, tell myself to write, and finish with a 50 thousand word book. But I can sit down, tell myself to write, and finish the day with two thousand words. And the next day, I might get two thousand more. It’s about finding the pieces that work for you and making the most of them. Building them on top of each other. Whether it take you a month or a year, you’ll have something bigger than what you started with, and if you don’t start with a small chunk, you’ll never have anything. This has been my philosophy for a long time, and like the best philosophies, it’s backed up by science and anecdotal evidence. It’s been discovered many times over, completely independently of one another. We all come to this realization eventually. We all search and search, and try and experiment and gnash our teeth, and then we all realize what we knew all along. Big things are only many small things put together. If they’re put together well enough, no one but you can see the seams.