Saturday, August 10, 2013


Whenever you see the word "complication," a world of intricate images appears in the empty lots of your imagination, sudden, spontaneous constructions, where every detail is ornate, woven, mosaic.

These associations arrive, hidden like guests at a surprise party.  Their origins come from your associations over the years with the basic constructs of story.  When you began arriving closer at the target of publication, sometimes a handwritten note on a rejection slip informed you your story in general or some of your characters were lacking complications or its first cousin, complexity.

Then came what you like to think of as the transition years, when you'd put your efforts to devising complexities for your characters and your stories, watching closely for signs of real life complexity when you were away from composition.  

The probable cause for these years was your own ironic complexity in which you could not see beyond the surface in real life.  In spite of omnivorous readings in pulp magazines, Victorian literature, mysteries, and the works of American socially driven writers such as William Dean Howells, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, and John Steinbeck, you seemed stuck in direct, deterministic interpretations of the reality about you.

At the present state of awareness, enhanced by ventures involving your participation in the landscape known as love, you are more able to see the ironic chemistry between small things and complexity. You write in the spirit of discovery.  Story and the non-story of essay are two parallel lines, rushing toward the same goal, bringing you closer to an understanding of something as the story or essay leads you to some moment of dramatic discharge.

 Small things are hiding places where you often see story, crouched down in the shadows, waiting to be discovered.  First you have to get its attention, offer it the kind of boost you associate with your youth when you helped boost friends to the top of a wall or fence or they clasped fingers together to provide for you a foothold from which you could continue some upward movement.  The goal, then, in story, and now, is to extend the horizon.  The more you extend it, the more you can see.  Perhaps then you can make greater sense of what you see.

Of all the possible human relationships, those involving love provide the equivalent of a smorgasbord in a Petri dish.  Love complicates the ways in which we see our self and the object or individuals of our focus.

You once saw a feature about wristwatches in which a designer spoke of complications, the added dials that show such things as moon phases, elapsed time, time in another time zone, dates, and even compass points.

Love has many forms and aspects, depending on whether it is love for parents, siblings, friends, books, musical compositions, paintings, drawings, photographs.  There are other such complex things to love, say a culture or a cuisine or the pucker of a splendid wine or the immediate quench of a pale ale.  There is love for a series of table-like buttes in the Arizona desert and a bowl of potsherds from a time you were told on a Mesa in Arizona not to walk down a particular path and not to turn to your right under any circumstances because were you to do so you would find an enormous scattering of broken pottery which you were not under any circumstances to take.

You have saved for these separate paragraphs the love called romance for another, the most complex of all the loves, the one with the most dials, compasses, and devices registering elapsed time as well as a button to control the device regulating elapsed time.  In that kind of relationship, you are elevating yourself to a personal landscape you have sought much of your life, through such traumas as puberty, middle school, the incredible storehouses of libraries, and all the splendid ambitions you ever aspired to.  You are the person you wish to be, a state that is reachable, even maintainable.  

It is a difficult state to maintain, not only for you but most humans.  If you are fortunate, you will be in a relationship with another who understands this difficulty, understanding it when she has taken leave of it as well as when you have, patient for the times of its return, seeking in her own ways, approaches to get the state back for herself.  Thus there will be the complexity of love between you when you are both in the stage, both out of it, or when you are out-of-sync, with one in, the other out.

Some years ago, a Hindu nun gave you a book, The Aspects of Brahman, which helped you understand how such personages as Durga, Shiva, Krishna, Ganesha, and your own special favorite, Kali, are all dials or complications on the face of The One.  With a push of the button of devotion, they suspend the workings of time, space, and causation.

Perhaps that best of all description of love is to consider it as this formless self, this charged awareness and energy that has aspects, smaller dials, smaller parts to be examined and understood.

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