Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thanks for the Entropy

With some growing frequency, you find yourself focusing on a particular generic label emotion or behavior related to an emotion, playing in the juke box of your mind (because you are of the juke box generation as opposed to, say, the MP3 generation) the relationship of that feeling to story.  You have made notes of several, some of which have found their way into The Fiction Lover's Companion,  but more to the point, all these words of emotional cognate deserve placement in your ultimate design for story.

What then is story without some emotional subtext, waiting to erupt in the sense banks of the reader?  One answer is that the result is an argument, another possible answer is a philosophical treatise.  Even such upper-lobe story tellers such as Aldous Huxley leave traces of the irony of missed connections and opportunities.

You favor such irony but you are fonder of greater disconnects between characters, of individuals playing out such relations as romance or friendship, and of individuals and their relationship to organizations, in which there are wide gaps between the understanding each party has of the other.

You have spent much time at an educational institution where you failed to see the enormity of disconnect, much of the astigmatism coming from your own short fuse but also your rebelliousness against structure you consider overdone.  Thus your contributions to what you expected of them as related to theirs of you.  You also supplied a sense of amused amazement at the possibilities for story.  When you feel as though you are camping in a dramatic petrie dish such as the university, you can feel yourself sponging up the attitudes and agendas; they are as real to you as the sight and sounds of a brigade of tourist motorcyclists revving their engines through a small town, then coming to a manicured halt in front of some truck stop restaurant.

Nothing was as funny as your rise to editor in chief of a scholarly publishing company and your ultimate dismissal because of the belief that when you did not actively seek to become the president of the firm, you were considered to be not committed enough to the organization.  It even seemed funny while it was happening.

Although it does not have direct emotional contexts, the word entropy suggests a gradual loss of energy and cohesiveness in a thermodynamic sense, but this could also be transferred to relationships in general and voila! an ironic index of the wedge of chaos and destabilization within a system (relationship).  In thermodynamics,there is a tendency within entropy for temperatures to achieve a universal homogeneity, which is given the lovely term "heat death."  Entropy suggests social decline and degeneration, which more than offers you a handhold of interest.  And no, you are not so much a cynic as to believe entropy is inevitable; society makes it a potential result, but it has become clear to you that you need to spend more time working this through to a more articulate vision, one that preserves within it the need for ongoing rebelliousness.

The aging process is somewhat entropic, thus a clue to you that whatever else may be inherent in it, you had better find a way to see the humor in aging before it catches up with you and bullies you out of your lunch money.

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