Friday, November 12, 2010


A distraction is something that takes your focus away from its previous landing, then positions it elsewhere.  Distractions can be welcomed, particularly if they carry with them a promise that has become lost or abandoned during your previous focus.  Promise plays an important, dare you say distracting role in the process.  Distraction is the "Look over here," or "Look at me," or the "Watch this." of a bored, unfocused mind.

Distractions may also become disorienting, having you arrive somewhere you had not anticipated, as though you'd boarded the wrong plane or train.  Now you have to retrace your steps, wonder what it was you were doing.  It is like going back inside a theater you've just vacated, suddenly aware you are missing wallet or glasses or cell phone, not finding the offender, despairing of the consequences, then discovering the missing object waiting in your car, where you'd left it.

If a distraction is handled artfully in something you are reading, you do not get the speed bump sense of the jerky driver at work; events appear to blend naturally, following the purpose of one or more characters which is, after all, the intent of the author.

You do not wish to distract persons who are having anything at all to do with something you have written.  Having been on more than a few bumpy rides, you cannot abide the thought of subjecting anyone to the jerky sense of discontinuity crossing the border from concept A to the next destination on the itinerary.

Magicians are the ones to watch when it comes to managing or manipulating distractions.  Each gesture of a magician is a nuance, leading you away from something in order to protect the dramatic essence of the final, emotional effect which is, after all, the gulping emotion of wonderment.  It is all illusion, we say of the magician.  How grand it would be to be able to say of your own work, it is all illusion, carefully orchestrated to produce this gulp of amazement.

I think I can see how you did that, you have said on occasion to some writer you admire.

It was the purest luck, the writer often says.  I was being led by, perhaps intuition, perhaps by--

Magic, you say in unison.

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