Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

Story is a simulacrum of reality, etched onto window glass with the sharp edges of detail.  As you study the stories of others for clues and techniques and surfaces onto which to etch your own narratives, you in many ways concentrate in order to filter out the inexorable clomping of reality about you.

The more you focus, the more the real story distills, drop by drop through the filter of your concentration, allowing the characters to wrest control away from you, borrowing the family car as it were, then lurching into the fender bender that is story brought to life.  Nevertheless, like some mindless troglodyte, reality continues to lurch and lumber about you, neither intent on parking lot scrapes nor demonstrating any desire to avoid them.  Although reality is without volition, story thrives on it.

You sometimes celebrate your life over your morning coffee, pleased, even excited to have survived for another morning with so much of you intact.  As reality progresses about you, age progresses as well, the bull in the china shop of some of your friends, the ticking clock of us all.  Your pleasure comes from being allowed to pursue the disaster course of writing as the source of your livelihood.  With each swig of coffee, you become buoyant in the stream of disaster that narrative represents.

If something you are working on of a particular day goes well, you will have set collision courses in motion, planned train wrecks, arranged unintended consequences. You’ll have chanced upon disagreeable sorts of individuals to humanize, stressed upstanding paradigms of civilization to the point where their behavior breeches cultural conventions, and unearthed some previously sacrosanct convention the way a truffle-sniffing pig uproots its prize.

You’ll have replayed in your mind the longstanding discussion between you and your mother where your mother urged you to find elevating, cheerful stories against your petulant insistence that the words “cheerful” and “elevating” were oxymoron so far as story was concerned.

Story is the disaster dwelling in event; the something that eternally has gone wrong and which cannot be replaced once the wrong has been righted to the extent a thing can be repaired.  These elements are your bedfellows; you can neither escape them nor think to work without them.  Disaster is always primed to ruin the picnic. Here you are, sipping coffee, square in the midst of it, and feeling pleased with yourself for having the perspicacity to have begun articulating yourself as a part of this delusional landscape, being greeted by sister and brother participants in the same conspiracy.

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