Saturday, May 17, 2014

All of a Piece

You stopped being one hundred percent at about four, when your tonsils and adenoids were remove in what was no doubt a sincere belief at the time that your remaining years would be numerous and trouble-free.

Yes to the former, so-so for the latter.  No addition or removal can provide absolute freedom from trouble. In some ways, trouble seems to be provided in your genome, puberty being one such thing, but don't forget such man made discoveries as algebra your genome did not seem to equip you to master.

In subsequent years, you've become, in that same sense, even less one hundred percent than you were at birth, losing along the way the occasional tooth, what was once an unusually unruly, cowlick prone patch of hair directly over your forehead, a few hip joints, some cancerous tissue, and in the past year both your lenses. 

You might also have lost some measure of innocence in your travels.  You have had the chance to peek behind some scenes, get a look at the how and why of illusion. True, you might have acquired some innocence in the bargain, as well as some cultural and intellectual savvy not issued you at birth.  Win some, lose some.

Acceptance of this last awareness is vital to your sense of place within this multifarious existence.  Few things within it are one hundred percent.  As the metric approaches a measurement of certainty, fewer things yet appear certain.  Even such of those with long-term certainty, say sunrise and sunset, are indexed to how long this planet will be around and what its final form or lack thereof will be.

As numerous quantum physicists have noted, we are in a sense on board a train in a train station.  On either side of us, other trains are arriving and departing, providing a sense of motion.  We can even sense the sensation that we are in motion.  But are we?  Or is this sense of motion an illusion, like so many other illusions about us?

You've set off on a path of coming to terms with the thing you have become, keeping in mind that win some, lose some ratio.  However much of a bubble you might be living in, never in your wildest dreams could you have imagined the you composing these lines.  Although you began the habit at about age twenty-one of keeping a diary (it was only an on-again-off-again journal), you could scarcely have envisioned such things as the Internet or computers.  

You were comfortable enough with a diary until you began to see the need for the interpretation essential for a journal rather than mere description of a diary.  Dear Diary, today I had dinner with Laird and Fred and Toni.

Important to note, however your awareness of the Dear Diary heading spoke to your awareness that you were writing to a tangible end.  Since that realization, you were addressing any number of girlfriends, personal heroes, and now, at this stage, yourself, notes to you as reminders of the things you might write, might consider, reconsider, edit, ignore, study, and, yes, regret, which would be your own Act of Contrition. 

Thus this reminder--actually, these reminders:  (1) story isn't one hundred percent; it is an amalgamation of seemingly disparate elements, slammed together in the linear accelerator of Reality.  (2) Life isn't one hundred percent; it is filled with contingencies, consequences, and the most exquisite accidents.  (3) Characters are not one hundred percent, even those we carry about with us as treasured childhood memories, well into our adulthood and experience.  We once wanted the adventures and accidents of these individuals.  (4) Writers are not one hundred percent anything; they are variations on themes of fear, self-doubt, hubris, confidence, and curiosity, any one of which may be off on a vacation or out sick.

Pure is a product sold to us when we are too young and impressionable to protest.  It is a set of conditions and circumstances older generations try to imbue within younger generations, the elders thinking they were somehow not smart enough to achieve purity.

The pure story is the one we use to attach some weight to the stories we tell ourselves about our own efforts.  The pure story is doubt.  The pure story is why bother?

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