Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Kiss before Being Screwed

Your aims and goals:  Although they may put some stress on achievable reality from time to time, your aims and goals are reasonable.  Aren’t they?  You have not, in effect, set your sights too high, have you?  Nor are you in any way attempting to pack too much metaphorical clothing into the metaphoric suitcase of reality.  Right?

If this were one of those space-filler, discover-your-true-personality tests residing as squatters on websites or throwaway magazines, and you were to have answered, “yes” on one or more of the questions, you’d be waiting now to be kissed.  You in fact enjoy being kissed while being screwed.  Settling for comfortable results may make you more like one of the boys, but the question then becomes, “Are the boys happy?”  The answer is manifest in so many cultural phenomena such as looting, soccer hooliganism, hate crimes, and one of the larger elephants in an already overcrowded living room, white-collar crime.

You could distinguish white-collar crime from everyday street-level crime by noting how white-collar criminals can afford an attorney while street-level criminals must rely on the Public Defender’s office.  You could also say that the white-collar crook’s behavior comes from the sense of entitlement meeting the stark reality of the credit card interest rate while the street crime is more often the direct result of need.

But you digress.

The target here is the level of consideration given to the risk taken and the probability of success.

Take Herman Melville as an example.  Once a man who was doing quite well, thank you, as an author, he’d more or less backed himself into a corner.  In order to get out of it, he’d had to write Moby-Dick.  By your standards, in particular the ones you make allusion to here, Melville died a happy man because he was able to go where the whale took him.  In fact, he died confused, broken, not at all buoyed up by his joy at producing such a work.  He’d have preferred to have met the same success as he had with his earlier books, by which means he might not have had to take on jobs that may have seemed menial to him.

No stranger to menial jobs yourself, you have often been numbed by them to the point of putting off writing for a day or two, at which point it became yet easier to put off writing for another day.  You did so, seeking some form of solace elsewhere, running through such ordinary distractions as drinking and drugs to the more sophisticated one of relationships.  You have elaborate theories about the origins of such relationships, but those theories are richer in fantasy than verifiable fact.  More important than such speculation, you came into forceful connection with the need to set your priorities and sights on finishing the projects that came your way, reckoning that these projects, published or not, would do more for your comfort than drinking, drugs, or relationships taken on as a specific plan to cure your inner earthquake.

Simple point of fact:  You can use writing as the Aleve or aspirin that will soothe your inner Ahab, remove the bitterness from mommy dearest, and steer you clear of your internalized brothers Karamazov.  The act of completing any given story may be a cover-up for you having used the toys and dolls who are your characters to work out a psychodrama spinning out of control in your gut.

Reaching higher can and does produce monumental crashes as well as extraordinary success.  Knowing both rat tails of that particular bell curve, you prefer rat tail to non-performance, thus failure to talk of what might have been.

It is a numbers game and you are a part of it.  Some nights and Saturday afternoons, you retire to comfort zones, overwhelmed by immersion in the
Befuddled romances and adventure tales of beginning students, but you could just as well venture upon tales of transformative vitality and nuance.  You are whom you are as a person because of a numbers game, you being a number of specific outcomes as well as choices not made, roads not taken.  Someone interested in seeing some of these vagrant blog reflections given refinement and publication asked you among other things what you considered the significant theme of your fiction and nonfiction.

You did not need time for the answer.

Risk, you said.

Risk is a good theme for fiction, men and women taking risks on themselves and long-term relationships.  Risk is a good theme for nonfiction.  Large numbers of individuals have succeeded at high level; they have brought near evangelism to metasuccess.  Your interests gravitate to those who have taken great risks, taking off with the steam power of the enthusiasm fueling their dream as they spring upward toward sun or moon, that intent look of focus in their eyes, that near arrogant tilt of chin as they soar upward, reaching, reaching, reaching.   


Querulous Squirrel said...

I love the idea of risk as the theme of my fiction and nonfiction. But, even better, YOUR BOOK CAME IN THE MAIL TODAY!!!!! I am so excited. See my next post.

Storm Dweller said...

It's marvelous, Squirrel. I have thumbed through it over and over again, and will continue to do so for a long time.

And Shelly, what is life but a collection of risks we must take? What better place to explore the scope and magnitude of those risks than through the epicenter of writing?

Anonymous said...

Dammit to hell, Shelly. I'm just trying to be a good Pompeiian, enjoying my wine and treating my slaves justly, and you have to go pointing to the great column of ash roiling out of Vesuvius and noting the temblors that rattle the pottery.

As always, well done!