Monday, April 11, 2011

Journey

You have bought your ticket, boarded the tour bus, settled back in your seat with some degree of humming anticipation.  Moments later, the bus clanks into gear like an arthritic knee extending, then careens off.  As the driver maneuvers through a series of preliminary turns, his voice a sudden nasal bleat over the intercom before welcoming you aboard, hinting at the excitement to come, your anticipation flattens like a souffle in a junior high school cooking class.  You tumble into the sinking awareness that you are on the wrong bus, headed toward a destination at some remove from your expectations.

Was it the turns executed by the driver?  Perhaps the lackluster welcome, or the sense of it being read without too much enthusiasm from a script that had been read again and again?

Whatever.

You are off, as in put off.

Off the bus.

The same process applies to a book you have in some manner come by.  Nor does this exclude so-called ARCs, advanced reading copies which you might be tempted to read in advance of their LD Date, which is to say lay down date at a book store.  You even bring to the table your own designation, the BLC, the belated reading copy of a book such as, say, Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, which you mean to reread prior to your review of it for the Golden Oldies cycle of your weekly book review.

Your purpose is transparent:  to entertain, maybe even instruct yourself.  This is the way it should also be for the writer in the act of composing.  Of course writing is a difficult craft, but why would difficulty prevent a writer from trying to write something that would give entertainment and possible instruction?

Who says writing, for all its potential for difficulty, should not nevertheless be pleasurable?  Without masochism.

The transparency of your purpose persists with this:  As you set forth, whether to read, to write, to reread, to revise, you feel the buzz of anticipation similar to the departure on a journey.  You expect to be transported somewhere.  Fuck the notion that reading is a passive experience.  You do not read in a passive manner; you are contributing and thus reading is not as mere entitlement; it is earned result.  So, too, is writing.  If you are not pleased with the result of it, you revise or throw away and begin anew.  If revision fails to please you, the option is there for re-revision.  Maybe it is not a perfect symmetry, but all the same a symmetry of some form.

The journey begins with a word.

Then another.

Aha, now you are going somewhere.

Where will you be taken?

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