Wednesday, September 19, 2012


We all read and tell ourselves stories in order to connect to a defining source.  Without reading and story, we—you among them—stumble along unlit highways, hopeful of a ride from some driver who appears to know the way and stops to pick up hitchhikers.

Defining sources can be for us anything that gets us through chaos in some reasonable approximation of comfort.

Reading and stories are enough to override the built-in genome of mistake, or the inability to recognize pole stars and shorelines when we see them.

Instead, reading and stories are lifelong companions who stand with us in the dark or when we feel disoriented.

The universe is a vast, disorganized place on which we have attempted to impose grids, city blocks, and roadways of order.  In response, the universe has demonstrated numerous times other agendas than to be organized.

You live in a comfortable universe, where such concepts as size, restrictions, inconvenience, and potential dangers remain on the far reaches of the horizon.  In most physical senses and most existential ones, comfort and convenience are your joint-tenant denominators.

When comfort and convenience do not seem to buoy you along on the existential sea, you take to questioning, to looking at the interior of things—yourself included, then to reading and story, in search of some defining source.  This source has many shapes and forms.  Neither panacea nor take-as-directed remedy for symptomatic angst, this source may well distract you by providing more questions tor you than you had questions for it.

No surprise to you then, the realization that a major aspect of this defining source has been and remains the salient reason behind your pursuit of the craft of storytelling.  This is a pursuit in which you strive to make some headway, some sense of gaining.

Storytelling, as you see it, involves among other things a product of value to you.  Storytelling cannot, you believe, be successful unless it produces some discovery, some arrival at information you did not have before.  You are not only talking about factual information, you are talking about emotional and existential discovery as well.  Such discovery goes beyond awareness of how you feel about a particular person, place or thing, extending into downstream consequences of how such feelings motivate your subsequent behavior.

Through discovery, you are placed in time and circumstance, vulnerable to consequence, vulnerable to interaction with human and animal forces, vulnerable to opening the creaky doors of philosophy and morality that may require squirts of the literary equivalent of WD-40.

Talk about Soren Kierkegaard and his leap of faith, you, as a writer take this leap of faith:  By pursuing your course of inquiry, you are addressing problems you may not even realize you are conflicted with, seeking answers you do not consciously realize you seek, gleaning solutions from your resolutions of these problems in the hope and trust that doing so will, in your conscious life, be amore honest and honorable person.

This is not an easy faith to rationalize much less accept.  You see yourself in a pattern of becoming less tolerant of individuals and circumstances where transactions with them seem of limited potential or satisfaction.  You are not going to change them; they surely are not going to change you.  Civility, yes, but close contact—no.

This leads you back to the seemingly anomalous position of civility within the Balkan aspects of yourself, accepting and trusting those disparate aspects to be civil and respectful if not open in accommodation.

You are by no means a hermit.  You would not wish to live like one, a position that brings you to the point where you elect to live with the literary equivalent of imaginary playmates, characters of your own creation and, of course, yourself, or keep at the spinning of narrative, watching intently as it weaves forth discoveries for you to investigate.

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