Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Writing Self as Condominium

 Sometimes when you skim through your paper notebooks and these digital ones, you are amazed to discover the range of subjects you find referenced in some way, and impressed by apparent links between the younger you, the intermediate you, and the you of now.  

In many ways, some of them frightening, you see a purposeful link between the younger, emerging you and the present you, as though the intermediate you had to be engaged at full-throttle in order to get you to the hear of your visions and ambitions.

Of the many subjects you find referenced, notes and questions related to identity seem to have occupied you even more than you thought.  You've been at some pains to identify things you considered useful, perhaps hoping they would provide some tool, some method, some guiding link.  You were, alas, not able to rescue all your journals when making the move away from Hot Springs Road, but enough remain to remind you in reflection and from reading actual whiting how much time you spent looking for the one source that would, in some blaze of inspiration or understanding or both, show you a clear-cut pathway to the destination you hoped to reach.

The good news is that you read and re-read a great many books, your time spent with them adding to your sense that you could, with some measure of caution, find your way wherever you happened to be.  These books offered you a sense of being one of many who set forth on some kind of journey into some kind of unknown.  Trouble was, these books also extended your sense of uncertainty.  

Unlike a recipe book you could consult to discover how to prepare a passable onion soup or coq au vin, or even a chili to your liking, the novels, memoirs, biographies, and philosophical arguments seemed to show you to get to a terminus from which there was always a need to transfer to another conveyance.

Through the years from the younger you until now, you searched, and although you know better, still pay as much attention to the descriptions of books in the journals and reviews to which you subscribe as you expend on the reviews and essays they contain.

The bad news is the awareness that such results are myths; the only books you will find that explain the methodology to your complete satisfaction are the ones you need to write yourself.  The news grows more grim from there.  Once you've found out how you stand on a matter, in effect providing your self with a tool kit with which to go forth and a picnic basket to sustain you while you go, you will need to write another book or somehow have a transformative experience that will allow you to move forward without repeating yourself.

Reading through notebooks and journals has revealed much to you, not the least of which is how repetitive you are and where those repetitions are mots probable.  Wisdom to be taken from this:  It never ends until life ends.  Because of the identity factor, you will be trying to track down what "it" means until you are no longer capable of tracking.

In the beginning for you, your journey seemed the essence of simplicity.  You wrote stories.  When you didn't write stories, you read, studied, listened to music, tried to find answers to questions that pestered you.  Early on, you were too busy with the work at hand to construct ways to build things that pestered you into stories or, indeed, to with specific deliberation construct stories where you'd have to cope with the thing that pestered you.  This was the equivalent of a one-dimensional you in an hexagonal or octagonal world.

When the matter of identity began to occur to you, to your credit, you addressed it both ways, reading about it and trying to write about it, in the process discovering yous you'd never suspected, aspects of yourself you realized had to be gotten along with.  If you attempted to drive them off with rhetoric or philosophy or booze or drugs, you'd only have to cope with them later, when you were hungover or suffused with remorse.

When you were at about the tail end of the intermediary stage, you were in a teaching mode that had the intensity of the you trying to educate yourself.  You'd been hired to teach people how to write stories.  Of course they'd want to know how to deal with characters.

And so it began, your need to be able to convey the things you felt about characters.  Long way around the barn.  You were getting to understand who you were, what you wanted, and what you were willing to do to accomplish those goals.  The memory of the first class where you brought forth these questions still provokes a tingling skin and altered heart rate of anticipation.  The search was not over, but now it could begin in proper fashion.

Not long ago, you wrote of things not being what they seem.  Intermediate times past, you wrote of the same phenomena.  In yet earlier times, you wondered about things, places, people, and not to forget animals.

You and each of your components is defined by what he and they see, is interpreted by how he and they react and interact.  A smile from you might be offered in the spirit of gracious companionship, only to be interpreted by the viewer as condescending, mocking, sarcastic.  Indeed, you have at one time or another smiled in all these manners.

What is the self or selves you have as permanent residents in the condominium that is you?  Perhaps this was the original exploration on which you set keel to breaker, so long ago.


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