Monday, March 29, 2010

Power Play

The moment you are attracted to the notion of a particular story being something you could engage as it pulses just beyond your reach, it assumes power over you. Willingly, you grant this power. As you move to delineate, define, develop the story, the balance of energy tilts your way until, eventually, you have power over the story. This is an ongoing process where you are sometimes under the thumb of the story, other times its master.


More often than not, you are in an arrangement, an understanding with the process of story, neither victim nor exploiter; you are merely pleased to be in the semblance of a relationship. You are by no means tempted to leave the relationship, although there are brief times when you feel that the relationship has, as in the case of some real-time romances, forgotten to call.

There are also times when you feel almost giddy with pleasure at having got the story near your early vision of it, a vision sometimes so heartbreaking and haunting that is hurts to swallow. You want to indulge in a bit of showing off for having seen the story through. You are, of course, showing off your power to the story, a behavior likely to last until you see the work in proofs or in published form, which is another moment of accommodation. Then, it is as though someone you had a crush on and who reciprocated had revealed that she had freckles. Conversely, perhaps you'd expected freckles, then discovered she had none. You have nothing against freckles, having just as easily been able to fall in love with them as to fall in love with someone who had not a one anywhere on her body. What you have in abundant presence is a joy for the crush itself and the knowledge that it is reciprocated, then the discovery of realities which must be acknowledged, accepted, eventually even prized.

In addition to being tidal, power is rarely one sided; even slave and master may, as in Aristophanes' The Frogs,cause a shift in status. One party to the power may rule even without the conscious consent of the other. It is not uncommon for attractions, writer to story or person to person, may have no apparent explanation, in which case the power seems mysterious and deliciously special. The source may reveal itself as the writer works at the story or as the two individuals work at the formalizing of their attraction.

Even as the intimacy is enhanced between writer and story or person and person, there is a delicious feel of recognizing the pull of attraction, then giving over to it. We have similar power relations with the things we read, the music we listen to, the art we cast our eyes upon, taking them in, recognizing the power they have over us for the first time or the hundredth.

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