Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Story as Scallywag

Story is never a straight line; it is always an evocation of texture.  The commercial story tends to be more an approximation of overwhelming dramatic event as opposed to the more nuanced event of larger readership.


Sometimes stories intended as more complex, encompassing more layers of texture, find their way into plentiful commercial sales, bringing along readers who thought at first to enjoy a more accessible rate of discovery.  This, by the way, is the attraction the mystery holds for you, in metaphor the trail of cookies the witch set out for Hansel and Gretel.  Mystery begins as mere puzzle, but somewhere along the way, you find yourself relating the characters to persons and situations you know of have known in real life.


Or they remind you of things you have read, things written and published in other centuries, causing you to see those remarkable floaters of parallels and connections.  Thus the writing becomes literature rather than either commercial or literary, literature because it has transcended linear progression.  Now it is a portal to the world of human ability to retain and mould experience to the point where it becomes more than mere warning about consequences and instead metamorphoses into intelligent wisdom.

Rogues, scallywags, and scoundrels who so delighted you in the past become billboards for the charlatans currently in our midst, riding their horses of ambition into our terrain, bent on exploiting our wired-in distrust of institutions and strangers.  Although he was not professed as a politician, Chaucer's Pardoner had the spiel and cynicism of the politician, offering a nostrum or relic to which magical properties have been imputed in fiery rhetoric and lackluster clothing.

Good reading and good writing help you transcend the linear, into the fully staged world of mischief you have come to recognize as story.  When it works for you, it abducts you.  When it does not work for you, it causes your eyes to glaze over and your senses to turn to some target for the mischief arising within.  All the better to help you cope with the mischievous, textured, fraught reality scheming about you.

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