Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Big Straddle, Story or Reality

When you hear a person in Real Time speaking of Fate or Inevitability or Kismet or Karma, you experience the physical urge to push yourself away from the conversation, firm in your belief that such things only exist after the fact.

Such things, seen as forces, only after two or three events or consequences have transpired, but, you argue, they were not viable forces until they happened.  Only then is it possible to see some link.

In the ironic face of this free market reality theory of yours, you measure time in terms of how soon before you can finish your chores, conclude your engagements, then pick up a novel or attend a performance of a drama, or attend your own time for composition.

You in effect are straddling worlds.  The first of these is the Real Time world, which you see as chaotic, mindless, an infinite tumble of events, actions, responses, where unseen-yet-viable forms are in effect making the equivalent you made when the sperm cell aspect of you arrived first at the egg that became you.

The second world is the world of Story, where the chaos is pushed aside, where there is an Inevitability every bit the equal of Karma or Kismet or Fate.  In a more dramatic sense, both worlds are quite real.  Before your species had evolved, there were indeed forces swimming about, looking for ways to get on land, make its way through the enchanted forest or savanna or ice pack or--  Eager to embark on a journey propelled by curiosity, impatience, eagerness, and a near untranslatable desire to become something other--not something else, something other.

A good part of the time you spend at your desk or in coffee shops or in strange, unfamiliar rest areas along new and familiar roadways, you are answering the urges you recognized as far back as you can recall.  Now, portable computer or notepad in hand, you extend an exploratory sentence, watching it to see if it develops fins or flippers or feet or some equivalent means of locomotion toward being a paragraph.  If you are fortunate, you see the gleam or trace of a theme, a direction.  And then the quest is on.

Some writers you know or have read about are able to push such explorations into novels, short stories, essays, poems, dramas.  They surely have to work for their results, and when they achieve them, they are often comfortable with the product.  To an extent, you're able to get to that point, but even after you've finished the project and it is offered a home, you still suffer that sense that you could have done it at a deeper, more insightful level.

Part of this response resides in many writers you know.  You can't help the feeling that your early approaches to composition were too playful, that you only did this because it was fun, it was not work, and with the exception of one job, where you were the manager and sole employee of a parking lot, work was the enemy, fun was the goal.

Here you are now, after all these years, trying to shake that unbridled sense of fun.  Of course there are answers to that straddle, just as there are answers to the straddle of the worlds of chaos and causality.  Things happen in Reality because there are often forces driving them.  

A sidewalk flower volunteer is making the best of its potential by growing where the wind has taken it.  This is to be my home, it seems to be saying, and it germinates in some crack in the pavement instead of following the examples of its brother and sister flowers.

Very well then, you are such a seed, saying in so many words, so many times, this is to be your home, get busy and germinate, why don't you?

Your preference is the story.  Although you are at work on another work that is not itself story, it is about ways to make story.  Then you can get back onto the story you feel yourself tracing on your evening walks and those spare moments between thoughts.

It is sometimes said of the cat species in story-like metaphor that curiosity is its killer.  Curiosity killed the cat.  You interpret this to be a warning against unbridled curiosity, a warning you reject out of hand.  If you are indeed to be killed by your curiosity of what makes a person, place, or thing be what it is or a sense of wonderment about what such things could become, so be it.  Far better to be killed by that kind of curiosity than by boredom.


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