Thursday, May 8, 2014

Location. Location. Location.

A possible consequence of having so many notebooks in varying states of composed notes, and so many works of fiction and nonfiction strewn about the studio in various stages of completed reading, is the triangulated position of where you are.  

Are you in fact looking for an existential equivalent of a GPS indicator?

Where you are relates to the geographical, the chronological, the existential, and the sense of self-awareness states you sometimes consider, either in the aggregate or on a one-by-one basis.  Your concern for such matters is close to being a default condition, absent, of course, when you are engaged in the three occupational things you do, which is to say composition, teaching, or editing.

You sometimes add a fourth situation of engagement, reading, a practice that often doubles back on itself in the form of causing you to wonder where you would be if you were not here, lost in your reading.

The notations in your various notebooks are the equivalent of trail markers a hiker would make, assurances and insurance against the prospects of becoming lost, with no tangible landmark or memory of where you were before you were here.

At the moment, you are beginning to suspect that you were bored or complacent or in some condition where your focus was not fixed on matters relating to you and your association with the world about you, which is to say preoccupied with interior, housecleaning issues as opposed to the more rewarding and connected ones of you in relationship to the world of phenomena and the world of humanity about you.

This state reminds you of times you've found yourself somewhere in the midst of a narrative where you have run out of dramatic energy.  Instead of seeking ways to reconnect with dramatic energy, much less  throw it some delectable red meat, you seek the kinds of justification  and purpose so often held out as carrots by religions, schools or ways of thinking, or philosophical approaches, which are often attempts to formulate Reality.

Formulated Reality often leads you astray, allowing you to think that a firm, steadfast persuasion is the equivalent of an individual assessment in which outcomes and consequences are weighed, one against the other, much in the manner of the Electoral College in American politics allotting votes to candidates according to multiple standards, in effect changing the rules of the game to favor of control of the many by the few.

At such fraught times, experience has shown you that the best approach is to listen for the voice that appears to be having the most fun as opposed to voices trumpeting their own rationality or practicality.

Your best voice in narrative composition is one exerting the most amused and challenging voice as opposed to the most hortatory.  An amused attitude of challenge sends the message that the narrative voice has little if anything to hide, that it is confident without being overly so to the point of the pre-World War II French, with their seemingly impregnable Maginot Line.

The humorist is the dead pan moralistic cynic, challenging ornate schemes with the recognition that the human spirit is marbled with vanity, wishes to please, and wishes to be liked, as well as wishes to be seen in the long run as effective rather than make-work or, worse yet, hollow. The humorist's approach is to exaggerate everything that smacks of triumphant, practical answers.

Practical as some answers and stories may be, they smack of the assurance of logic and common sense leading the way, their lights ablaze with candle power, to a medium that sounds as though it were canned, a sermon to be held forth henceforward as wisdom rather than the propaganda of a momentary priesthood.

Amusement is an amalgam of mischief and a deliberate choice of pleasure over some more grounded sentiment.  Fear is the hovering sense that you may not have got it right or, for that matter, that you have not got it at all.  Both are powerful allies, causing you to step somewhere away from conventional boundaries.

You cannot see the value in doing a thing that does not afford you some measure of amusement.  You are often afraid you've lost considerable velocity by beginning in a state of seriousness.

Tread lightly and you are apt to fall back upon seriousness.  Tromp ahead with a sense of tantivy, and you just might have a chance of making a point and statement you could return to at some later time with the awareness, "Well, you may not have been right, but at least you were having a good time discovering it."

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