Monday, November 1, 2010

The Next, the New, the Promised

You've invested exercise and learning where literature and plain old story are concerned, taking and suffering the risks of boring yourself and others until, to some small degree, you found not only a vocabulary for literature and story, you had examples in mind and had written, among various other things, a dictionary of linking and cross-referenced terms.

This is not so much self-congratulation as it is a fact of accomplishment; you have done what you believe those who compose or present music must do, what those who carve things from other things, who compose and portray dramatic scenes, who compose story, all from vocabularies they have discovered within themselves as an analog to the vocabulary of the discipline in which they have chosen to work.  Those others with whom you would associate, even to the point of disagreeing with them and their vocabulary entirely, have struggled to invent a vocabulary of significant vigor and resilience to sustain story; they speak in this vocabulary, hopeful of being understood by others.

The book length work you have completed was some years in the making, its worth to you enhanced not only through the vocabulary of revision you have articulated but because you had somehow managed to have lost the entire project, then had to reconstruct it, day by day until you were satisfied of its completion.  Your original plan was to supply an edge to your voice that distinguished the material from anything similar, but thanks to the loss of the manuscript to the electronic fates, you lost that particular edge and found instead yet a more satisfying vocabulary.  There are by your count three hundred seventy-five separate terms, essays ranging from three or four lines to ten or twelve manuscript pages.  The edge is gone.  In its place, there is the fact of you having experienced at least three hundred seventy-five squirts of C6H3(OH)2-CH2-CH2-NH2,which is to say dopamine, which is as good a reason for doing a thing, particularly a writing thing.  Many of the books of which this is a sort have in common the authorial I as a focal point; if you do as I say, if you follow my rules, my conventions, then you shall have succeeded.  You know a few individuals who have written such works, thus your confidence in you own vision, your own voice, and your own vocabulary.  One of the many things distinguishing your project from the others is the shift in pronoun so that the emphasis, although coming from you, speaks to the you of the reader, not the I of the writer.

You can live with the swarm of interest in the work, then the seemingly universal spread of uneasiness about it, the request for more time, the occasional questions about your intent, then the tin can of decline tied to the tail of the project, all because of those squirts of dopamine.  Somewhere, there will emerge a home for the project.  Meanwhile, you are seeking more dopamine from the next, the new, the promised.

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