Friday, December 3, 2010

Notes in a bottle.

In our headlong desire to cast endless legions of interesting and quirky individuals who are also vulnerable into enhanced risk and previously unthinkable consequences, we are indeed creating the essentials of powerful and abiding drama.  At one time in our history as a race, perhaps well before many in our midst could contemplate reading, we were still able to see and give ourselves over to drama on the stage.  In many cases, those dramas were the forerunners of our soap operas and Reality TV.

Now, drama has so many iterations; there are so many opportunities for "Law and Order" marathons that much drama has taken us past what you think might be an uncharted elephant in the living room.

The elephants of apprehension and, with respect to Steven King, fear have been identified; in King's case the elephant has been well articulated.  Millions of readers turn to King for the avowed purpose of being scared by something it was easy to think of as commonplace, thus King gives us the ordinary as a thing that has another, more fearful dimension than previously supposed.

This leaves, you believe, the elephant of fright.  What are the individuals in story frightened by?  What would it take to frighten one or more of your characters?  What does it take to frighten you?  And to leap ahead to the reduction of theme stage, are you in fact writing to fend off your own sense of the end of process?  End of process goes beyond mere death for you.  Death means an ending for the object under the light of investigation, whether you, someone you know, or some persons you have invented.

Your fright comes from the potential for leaving no lingering effect.  Your words on a page or screen reveal themselves to you as initials carved on a desk or tree trunk, some sign an individual may run his or her finger over in times to come, equivalents of those words scratched on the rocky outcroppings on the way west, Paso por aqui.  Came this way.  Was here.  Stopped to commemorate the extravagant cavalcade of existence, so thrilled by it and taken up with it, that it became necessary to leave a note. Clearly this is more primal emotion than philosophical calculus.  Clearly you already have data, your awareness of the effects your parents and sister continue to have on you, the effects mentors and friends have on you.
All of them, as you recognize, have left you that singular legacy you seek from your transactions with individuals in reality, in your reading, and in your own writing.

It is an invitation to leaving a legacy of tendentiousness if you dwell too self-consciously on such thoughts, particularly before it becomes "time to write," which is to say your moments when it feels fun to get down your visions of the universe.  This kind of introspection becomes as important as the exercises and variations on a theme you refer to as blogging.  You introspect in hopes of catching a fist full of frights, in the greater hope of transferring some of them out of tediousness and tendentiousness into the muscle memory of story.

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