Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guaranteed to er, um, dissemble?

Some of the most equivocating, non-specific language you have had the privilege of reading is the language associated with guarantees and warranties, those documents meant to assure you how safe you are in many of the various transactions you indulge during the course of a day.

Fiction, drama, and certain types of poetry aspire to a kind of seeming anomaly of ambiguous certainty,where you are left pretty much to see the story as you see it after having been nudged into the almost correct place by the author via,of course,the author's characters.  Politicians, the clergy, and certain advertising sorts would have you believe you are being given more definite foundation on which to stand, complete with promises of good health, good performance, endurance, integrity of product, superb engineering.  Thus are you attacked by prose that promises you, cozens you, assures you on the one hand and prose that tries to help you evoke your own vision of essential feelings.  You are not assured of the durability or accuracy of these feelings.

There is no guarantee under any circumstances that a day's worth of writing will be at all useful, that you will come to see it as keepable, an integral part of a project in the works, an inducement to pursue another project, an intriguing detail of bit of business so evocative of the human condition that you wonder how you came to see it as opposed to some man or woman whose writing you admire having beaten you to the insight and its capture on the screen.

At one point not that many years back, the bottom drawer in the three-drawer Queen Anne writing desk your mother gave you was filled with guarantees commending the integrity and durability of a number of products.  In one enormous cleaning binge, you disposed of all of them because of an observation that the items for which the guarantees were written were no longer about the house.  You gave little thought to guarantees after that realization.  Writing should not come with guarantees; however nice it would be if writing were guaranteed to be understandable, but even that is not so easy to give.  This is as true for you, returning to these pages later in search of some insight or attitude as it is for someone else reading these sentences.

Much as it would give you comfort to think your future reading of these sentences would give you an immediate entry into a realm of idea and plan, no such comfort exists,

We have come in a full circle, back to the point where there are few certainties; understanding a strong presence in the as-is bin, no guarantees, what you see is what you get and you may not by any means see enough to get much at all.

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