Saturday, December 19, 2009

Arse Poetica

You've gone on at some length and tangent where the joys of discovery are experienced directly through the act of composition.

Do not, you admonish yourself these days, consider the merest blog post, personal essay, or book review complete without you having discovered some fact or behavior previously unknown to you. It goes without saying that you would persist in such focus if the work in progress is a short story or novel. Thus have you covered the bases.

What you had not considered is the increasing equation in which association has a direct relationship with discovery. From about the time of your late thirties, you'd written enough to be aware of a causal relationship between the two but it took you this added time from then until now to put it in so many words as a cause-and-effect recipe. As matters stand now, when associations begin to appear for you, there is no longer any question that you are "in" the material you are composing, immersed sufficiently to push aside awareness of the present moment, focusing instead on the separate life of what is being written, experienced, anticipated.

When you first became aware of this association connection, you assumed it was the product of maturity, bringing you the gift of association, leaving it on your doorstep to fend for itself, like an abandoned puppy. In its way, it made sense to equate age with experience and, thus, more medium in which associations could spawn. On considered thought, age isn't the focal point at all; muscle memory is the driving force. No matter the age. When you begin using the association connection, it begins developing muscles which in a literal as well as figurative sense lift story from one-dimensional to the sort of simulacrum of your choice.

Associations that trigger unexpected connections are those you prize most, the warmth and energy conveying to you a personalized landscape instead of the random ones where you sometimes find yourself, eager for some point however remote on which to orient yourself.

Aha moment: you write to find your way out of the random, the unknown, and the unfriendly neighborhoods in which you find yourself. These neighborhoods may be internal or external; the feelings in each are amazingly similar. By entering a random, mysterious, or openly hostile turf, you are reminding yourself of the great duality between the you who is a runner and the you who is a problem solver.

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