Sunday, August 5, 2012


 Even when the crossword puzzle is at its simplest, as in today’s Sunday New York Times Magazine, you get a childlike joy in delving into it, trying to ferret out the logic governing the main clues, and watching as the words converge in the grids.

The puzzle is in its way patterned, neat, orderly.  Sometimes it relies on the kinds of outrageous puns you resort to whenever you can.  Any time at all spent with this or other similar puzzles are occasions of pleasure.  Completing a puzzle of any relative ease or difficulty is an affirmation of the way words can link to form patterns and create solutions.  Some of your favorite types of such puzzles are those where the major clues are lines from a quotation by some famed literary sort, taken from one of that individual’s books or plays or poems.

Crossword puzzles rank with mystery novels in your estimation, once again reminding you of the incredible number of day-to-day puzzles presented by Reality.  These puzzles only in rare circumstances provide clues or solution grids much less patterns and hints.  From your point of view, these puzzles and Reality in general are made more malleable and ductile because of crosswords and novels of suspense.

A significant leitmotif of these blog essays of yours is the ongoing battles you have with neatness.  Through years of rigid self-discipline, you’ve managed to keep relatively close watch on items related to the closet and the kitchen.  A weekly visit from Lupe is also helpful and instructive.

When you get to working, your desk area begins to take on the appearance of the Norman invasion, with books, magazines, index cards, and manuscript pages looking to establish beachheads, thus neatness and work and structure and order become greater metaphors for Reality.  You are to neatness as Reality is to order.  Or structure.

The individual quirks of your memory allow you recall of seemingly great numbers of seemingly unrelated facts.  When you are able to discover some relationship among or between these facts, the result is the same kind of pleasure at completing a crossword puzzle and/or not being overly surprised by the outcome of a suspense novel.

Connections are your way of tidying up the forgivable and necessary chaos of Reality.  In your own way, you are as spread out and untidy as Reality, thus your ability to sympathize with so much of it.

No one in your acquaintance has accused Reality of being a slob.  Perhaps a bit random or untidy, but not a slob.  You do not get away so well, although you have taken steps.

There is, however, a particular yellow sweater of which you are quite fond but rarely think to wear.  Because of your chemistry with the sweater, it becomes a magnet for food that seems well able to care for itself when you wear other garments, for coffee spills that would not in fact be spills were you to wear another sweater.  This is a puzzle you attempt to solve from time to time by announcing to the cosmos a Renaissance of neatness and order, then wearing the yellow sweater.

This is a puzzle you do not appear to be coming any closer to solving, thus most of your sweaters are cotton and washable.  So is the yellow one.

Story is another way of coping with the excesses of Reality.  Story is patterned to a point, offering clues and, at your hands, some outrageous puns.  Story allows you to wear the yellow sweater, either without spilling anything on it or with some other remarkable result.

Story, when it comes from you, is a puzzle of your own creation you are working to solve.  When story comes from another writer, it is a challenge to make you question whether you have worked the writer’s intent.

You do not by any means want to give up Reality, nor do you wish to give up story.  

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