Monday, July 28, 2014

Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Elephant

1.  There is at least one in every story, often in the living room.

2.  Because of its size, the elephant has become an ironic metaphor, too large to be ignored, yet, by some conventional agreement, banned from being discussed in direct terms.  Violation of this convention is considered grounds for excommunication.

3.  Because of its universal meaning, living room has become a metaphor no less ironic than the elephant lurking within it.  Living rooms are designated areas where characters gather to act and, often, to behave. Living rooms and characters are arranged and furnished to reflect communal éclat and respectability.  One sofa with a sprung cushion, or one character with a soup stain on his necktie, represents a breech of the Social contract. In some living room, a crocheted doily on a headrest of a chair or sofa is prima facie an elephant.

4.  Front-rank characters such as Protagonists and Antagonists have greater potential for being memorable if they have at least one interior elephant and one interior living room.

5.  The conventional wisdom of an elephant never forgetting is an elephant in the living room.  Ask yourself why this is so.

6.  A narrative in which two or more individuals with no trace of an elephant in anything resembling a living room is not a story.

7.  Sometimes an elephant will seem small enough to go unnoticed.  Try explaining that to Mabeth.

8.  Sometimes an elephant will lie about its size and intent.

9.  Sometimes a living room is not a living room; it may be a backyard or someone else's living room.

10. Sometimes a story begins when a character asks, "What's that elephant doing here?"

11.  Sometimes a story begins when the elephant in the living room stirs, rises, then greets one of the characters, wagging its tail.

12.  Sometimes the story ends when the elephant is invited to dinner.

13.  Sometimes elephants enjoy hiding in the living room.

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