Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Schrodinger's Cat--er, Egg

The future will take care of itself, you believe, without any help from you.  The future has no agenda as you think of agendas;the future merely is and will be, a cavalcade of event poised to happen.  So long as you are alive, you are a player of some sort in this cavalcade; no matter what you do or do not do, you will be playing a role in the production.

The simple act of placing an egg into hot water becomes an epic act of assertion against the forces of time, space, and causality.  In setting the egg into the water, you are performing the anarchic act of controlling the future.  You can in some way control the shape of the future by removing the egg from the water somewhere between the egg becoming soft boiled or hard cooked.  You could do the same thing with a live lobster, your removal of it from its hot bath a determinant about whether it is merely a mildly pissed lobster, a scorched lobster, or a lobster who has had the ghost boiled from it.

Far fetched as these examples of future manipulation are, they serve also as the even farther fetched metaphor for story; when you take the principal character out of the hot water, you have had a direct effect on the future even though you may not be aware of your own intent to manipulate when placing said character in some kind of soup.

However much you offer disclaimers, you are somewhat of a manipulator, toying with the sense of time that is a story, arranging and rearranging to achieve the most resonant feelings from the drama you have created and the consequences you have set into motion.

You have a limited partnership with future events by virtue of having done things in preparation for what you are today, making plans of some tangible sort, having goals toward which you strive, even dreams which percolate from your most hidden self into your most social self.

The future has the last laugh because it can remove you from the water as necessary, leaving you variously a pissed lobster, a soft boiled egg, or a lobster who has given up the ghost.  Because you think of yourself and feel viscerally about yourself as a writer, you are willing to cede the last laugh to the future out of the supreme writerly ego of fancying yourself some sort of cosmic joke, perhaps the explosion of tension that will be provoked when the future decides to pluck you out of the hot water.

1 comment:

Storm Dweller said...

I seem to go through the pissed lobster stage quite often in life, the fates seeing fit to play grand practical jokes on me on a regular basis. I wonder though if the lobster ever develops a sense of humor when continuously subjected to such treatment again and again and again. I love the analogy however, and I find I love stories with disjointed time lines, that leave the reader trying to re-shuffle and resequence so that they have to determine the course of how things panned out, the writer warping and manipulating their sense of time just as they have done to the characters.