Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alternate Universes

What goes on in the Writer's World?  Where and how does it differ from the Real World?

Let's address this part first:  The goings-on within the Writer's World should differ from Reality.  These activities are complex, causing associations to bounce all over the place, as though the Writer were in some conflated game of jai-alai or squash rackets.  The writer needs to make associations between as many things as possible. The Writer could, for extreme example, be stuck in a waiting room somewhere, waiting, say, to get a flu shot or a driver's license renewal, or even in a police station, waiting to be fingerprinted in order to be able to teach in an highly bureaucratized education system that receives some money from a State government.

Associations are available in all such Reality-based places.  Only last week, when you were in the lobby of the Santa Barbara Police Department, waiting for the fingerprint specialist, you found an ancient copy of Architectural Digest, another yet of Vogue, and still another of Popular Science.  You tried to associate the magazines with the individual or individuals who caused these magazines to be in such a place, where the more plentiful reading materials were the Spanish language newspaper from L.A., La Opinion, and the weekly advertising venues for used car sales.

Associations are available in the Subway Sandwich Shop on Milpas or the Quiznos on State Street where in each, when you are asked which accessories you want on a sandwich, you reply espinacas and pepina, to which they counter Ah, you mean spinach and cucumber, at once they not trusting you to know the Spanish words and you not trusting them to know the English.

The goings-on within Reality are routines in which cadres of individuals are called upon from time to time to ratify cultural values, others feel the need to challenge them, and still others become motivated to break away from these values.  Occasionally, your work as a Writer will be held up to standards by which educated individuals will wish to impose upon you conditions of clarity,by which they mean conditions in which your meanings and intents become manifest.  Occasionally, you will be in the same position, applying subjective standards to the ideas and expressions of others, lest they be ambiguous or wrongheaded.

You try to spend as much time as possible in the Writer's World, measuring potential friends and associates against the work and educational manifestos you have concocted for yourself.  It is a world you enjoy, but it is fraught with discouraging, bad news.  Each time you feel you have learned something, you have your entire lifespan to date to reflect upon as a considerable time where you were innocent of or, worse, ignorant of the thing you just learned.  You try to take some pleasure in having finally learned the thing you'd gone all this time not knowing.  Rather than admit such judgmental things as stupidity or ignorance, you attempt to learn more, one way of which is by associating or connecting things you previously thought dissimilar.  It can be said when you are being happy in the Writer's World that you are living in a fool's paradise.

This may be so.  Nevertheless, it is better here than in the bureaucratic limbo of Reality.

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