Monday, April 8, 2013

Telling Reality to Leave You the Fuck Alone while You Finish a Story

You first become aware of your pace.  You're taking longer, more determined steps, even what you might call more decisive steps.  You know your breath is coming in more pronounced gulps. You feel the cotton of your shirt, sticking to your sides.  This is more or less the first plateau.

You've reached it as a result of walking away from an incident.  You're here because you chose to walk away from the incident, walk some of its frustration and anger away from their temporary home within your viscera.  You are in many cases a reasonable person.  Being here, at this distance from the event is in itself proof of how reasonable you are.

Physical violence may have been in your emotional tool kit at one time.  You have amused memories of throwing things--razors, for example, packages of cigarettes, once even a typewriter--out of windows, forswearing them or things like them.  Verbal violence is more an outcome of your temper.  You will, when provoked enough, resort to the argument ad hominem, which in many ways is your Latin equivalent of fuck you or go fuck yourself.  Such outbursts are still within the realm of the possible for you although now you're more likely to say Go be fruitful and multiply yourself.

Understanding the plateaus of your various humors is a significant part of your growing sense of being better able now to consider yourself a man of reason, a man who walks quickly from an incident rather than staying to amp it up to more than one round of ad hominem argumentation.  In some circumstances, you might even screech to a halt and instead of verbal violence, suggest that we--who or whomever the party or parties in the incident--talk this through now, resolve things now.

If you've walked fast enough and far enough, some of the initial sting is gone.  You're more aware of small details again, details such as the rate of your breathing, the length of your pace, the things you're noticing as you walk.  Always a good sign when you begin noticing small things:  a volunteer flower or attractive weed spiking its way through a rupture in the sidewalk. A cat, slithering past some retaining wall.  An intriguing smell coming from no apparent source.

The words in your head have slowed to a considerable degree, toning down from rant to what you call The Spirit of the Staircase, because, although you've walked most of "it," the incident, off, there are still some words.  You are even beginning to laugh at yourself.  I spilled a can of alphabet soup and some hot words passed between us.

Hot words.

Dialogue.

The things characters say to one another in stories, as opposed to most of the things persons say to one another in Reality, even though they'd like to say in Real Life what their favored characters say in stories, even if their favorite character only says go fuck yourself (which is, you admit, not all that original any more, given its frequency of use and its currency.

At one point in your life, you tried saying things in Real Life that people said in novels you liked, but the glazed-over eyes of your conversants relayed a vital message.  Conversation and dialogue are two different things.  People converse.  Characters exchange dialogue.

Sometimes persons in Real Life say what they'd ordinarily say while thinking what they feel, which is more like what you get in story--which is one added reason why you like story so much, both to read and to write.

Sometimes, when you are walking away from an incident (rather than escalating it) and you begin to notice details about you, then you begin to wonder if, even though you might not have said Go fuck yourself, you might have said something perhaps more hurtful because it was a step or two in originality beyond fuck you or go fuck yourself,  IED.  Improvised explosive dialogue as opposed to the IEDs of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Other times, you could just as well wonder if there was something more explosive you could and should have said, leading you back to that interior monologue staple of yours about the duality within a dramatic character.

You would rather be that character of duality than the you who worries he's gone too far or missed an opportunity to have said something more memorable that whatever it was he might have said or might not have said.

Characters of duality have things to argue about.  Argument is low-level dialogue but nevertheless dialogue that is itching to become escalated into memorable dialogue or even mere ironic dialogue, dripping with as much sarcasm as you can muster, like syrup runneling down the sides of a full stack of buckwheat or buttermilk hotcakes.

Sometimes when you consider such things, you also hit the duality between things you tell students or clients about the need to make their narrative sound conversational as opposed to sounding academic or tendentious or, worse yet, didactic.

You sometimes wonder if someone who could tune in on your interior dialogue would think you were arguing with yourself.

Wise guy, your father often said when you were on a horse of a particularly great height.  This is the glorious thing about dialogue; you still hear your father's love for you when you hear him saying that, Wise guy.

Do you sometimes say things you'd say in your Wise Guy aspect only to cause you to hear your father's voice, warning you to tone it down?  And if the answer is Yes, then what a delightful tool dialogue can be, even if spoken only to one's self.  Dare to argue with your inner child.  Dare to call your inner self a wise guy.

Dare.

You have a wide variety of favorite writers, extending over a span of years and oceans, their dialogue growing more accelerated in its wise-guy-ness.

Dare to call Reality a Wise Guy.  Dare to think, as you're walking away from an incident, You should have told Reality to leave you the fuck alone for another minute or two, while you finished an argument you had in process.


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