Saturday, December 18, 2010

Contrary Wise

If you were asked to chose a modifier or descriptor to best define you, it would not be long before you came forth with the word contrarian.  A long-term resident within that funky abode you think of as your psyche is an individual whose voice is strident enough to be distinguishable above the other, more reasonable voices or, indeed, the cheerleader enthusiasms of your more proactive tenants.  Contrarian always wants to know why, sometimes even pushing the matter to Why now?  Even if you tell him something tinged with irony such as, Because the building is on fire and we have to evacuate, he will want the last words, which will be to the effect that he does not smell smoke yet.

Contrarian you wants to write when he is committed to some other activity; he also wants to do something else when you feel the need to compose.  He is impatient, self-indulgent to the point of believing his own entitlement, in particular when it would be to a better advantage for the totality of you to shut the fuck up and go along with the majority rule.

Contrarian you believes he works best when he is under a deadline or is commissioned to produce a particular work, but of course he relishes the adrenaline squirt of last-minute-itis, arguing down the you who likes to be finished ahead of time for a final run through to check against anomaly, repetition, and what you have come to think of as Moby-Dick, more about whales than necessary.  Nah, says Contrarian, you don't need to mess with that stuff.  You do, of course; you have only to look at something you wrote in the past to see where and when Contrarian got his way, leaving solecism, slapdash punctuation, a redundancy you'd have caught with less of a time squeeze.

So what is it with Contrarian?  Is it that he wants you to stumble time after time?  You don't think so.  You think he has become addicted to the endorphins squirting forth when you make a discovery, turn an unexpected corner, connect dots you'd never have believed could be connected.  He wants you coffee'd up, tense, near manic in presence; he believes himself the consummate improviser because he is fast on his feet, but there is more to it than that.  Swift connections and daring leaps are good tools, but ultimately discipline is even more to the point.

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