Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Expectations


Whether you are about to embark on a reading session or a writing session, your goal is the same.

You expect to be transported somewhere.  You are in effect signing on as a tourist, your senses alert for signs of local color, local passions, and the thrilling expectation of finding encounters and experiences you cannot hope to find at home.

You are more than a little open to discovering behavior with the simultaneous capacity to shock you, satisfy a submerged, secret longing, and at some future moment, to provide you with a residue of guilt.

To enter either reading or writing, without such expectations and subtext is to encourage the routine of the expected, with the final result that you’d have subjected yourself to the disappointment of the ordinary.

Even when you claim to do either reading or writing for more than exploratory purposes, you nevertheless have hopes you reading matter or your written output will surprise you with some connection that is at once audacious and provocative.

In the manner of some conspiracy theorist writers and critics you know, you read or write to discover innuendo you missed, nuance you did not grasp.  The pull of the provocative reaches under the protective clothing of your comfort zones and fantasies, where it often delivers a forbidden thrill.

Under ordinary circumstances, you’d think you’ve arrived at a stage of life where such knowledge is either quite open to you, but there you are with hopes and expectations that both activities, reading and writing, will reveal undiscovered territory within you still to be traversed, charted, and interpreted.

You take these imaginary trips of reading and writing for the thrill of being a stranger in a strange land or a recurrent tourist to a place that has continued to fascinate you to the point of prompting another visit in hopes of noticing a detail you’d neglected earlier.

At home, you are less likely to confide secrets, not from any sense of being on guard or protective but in the sense of being lulled into the routine of the ordinary.  In reading and in writing, you’re more likely to confide actual experiences and fantasies with short-term acquaintances you believe you’ll never see again, identify with unsafe and unknown attractions.

The lure of the occult, the hidden, unseen, unsuspected, is there to lure you off the path.  You find yourself sometimes in bookstores and libraries, pondering, reaching out as though your hands were the willow rods of the water diviners, seeking underground caches of story.

You find yourself sometimes halfway down a note pad or a page on your computer, reaching through the paragraphs and words, seeking buried stories and insights to bring to light.


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