Friday, April 18, 2014

Taxi! Taxi! Idea! Idea!

At the earliest time of your path to the present, you regarded reading the way you regarded marshmallows, a chewy, delightful envelope into which you could lose yourself.  Story was a highway to sensual, imaginative adventures.

Then, for a time, reading had yet another meaning, adding to its luster.  When you were not looking for adventure and transportation as such, you sought information about the places and activities so plentiful in the stories you experienced.

Things do change.  In a university, things are apt to undergo vigorous change.  Your reading for pleasure bounded ahead of you, a gazelle or cheetah, stretching its limbs as new authors, newer types of adventures, and newer reasons for them came into your reach.  Although at first stunned by the enormity and extensiveness of its collection, the library presented another aspect of reading and information, the fact that much of story and information also served as propaganda, more often than not for causes of which you were woeful in your ignorance.

This recognition alone set you off on a venture much like the venture of having an animal in your life; it cannot have an ending you will consider happy.  And yet, as it is with your past and present animal friends, the ventures in search of information and their meaning and implications will continue.

With some time spent analyzing and seeking out propaganda, you were able in unanticipated ways to get back to reading for the adventure of story.  But now, you read for the discovery of process rather than dramatic outcome.  Not that you have objections to dramatic outcome; in fact, you insist on it, but you also insist on knowing why.

Your quest, even before you became aware of it, has been for process, the way writers you greatly admire and a number of those for whom you have little;e affection employ process to achieve storytelling goals.

By your standards, process is a series of steps to take on a multiplicity of impressions, ideas, and concepts, then distill them into a recognizable outcome.  This description could work for sausage as well as for story or for general narrative.

Process forced you to think beyond what you once considered egocentrism to the investigation of the steps by which you are able to connect seemingly disparate concepts, then fuse them into a readable narrative where logic, order, and plausibility are present along with details which may have no rational basis and are, thus, emblematic of the human condition.

For you, process is an attempt at understanding what story means to you, how its salient elements are recognized, selected, then assigned a work station.  This is not an easy vision.  Your process is the equivalent of your fingerprint; it should reflect your strengths, biases, weaknesses, ignorance.

You've required considerable time, extensive reading, baskets full of crumpled pages, tossed aside in the frustration of not having articulated the process of a particular work.  Indeed, part of your process is to suppose each thing worth working on to have its own process, your goal being to find it, translate it, then work it so that it becomes as near instinct for you as possible.

In a large and cosmic sense, your process is to become attracted to the fireflies of concept, which you attempt to assemble into some meaningful through line, all the while growing aware of the inherent paradox.  The closer you come to a thing, the more ignorant you are of its process.

Bottom line, you are attempting to produce enlightened ignorance.  Seeing how a thing works opens another door for you onto a universe in which concepts, ideas, and disparate objects orbit.  About what?  Ah, any year now, you will be narrowing in on the answer to that.

Meanwhile, you have your process, which in its way is the equivalent of trying to hail a taxi in midtown Manhattan during rush hours.  There, across the road, you see it, an unoccupied vehicle.  You wave your hand, call out to it.

Taxi.  Taxi.

Idea.  Idea.

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