Sunday, August 31, 2014

Experiences

Dealing with experience is like trying to recover a dropped garden hose without getting yourself wet. Experience influences the effects of story on you as though your individual range of experiences were that same, dropped garden hose, drenching everything in sight without pattern or purpose.

If an event does not in that metaphoric sense drench you with the details you noticed while being its witness or participant then it cannot have been a memorable one.  

Somewhere in your third or fourth year, you remember living with your parents and sister in a large, Mediterranean-style home in Burbank.  You remember the door to the bathroom having a pane of frosted glass.  You remember next door neighbors, generically The Browns, but it no greater detail.  You remember them having a dog named Silver, who, when it bit you, you returned the favor.  Such memories have done you no tangible good.  You remember these details.  No one is alive to ratify or contest them.  Yet you have them.

You'd moved from Burbank to mid-Wilshire, mid-town Los Angeles, to Orange Street, of which you have vivid memories, including the one hiding in the closet during your sister's piano lessons with her teacher, Mrs, Lovejoy, from whom you first heard of Beethoven and Bach, then, later, of Debussy and Ravel.  You remember her saying it was probable that you--in this case not you but your sister--would be moved to tears when you heard Beethoven's violin concerto.  

Was it the notion of eavesdropping from the closet?  Was it the sincerity and conviction of Mrs. Lovejoy's voice?  You did press to hear the violin concerto, yet, moved as you were when you first heard it, you were not moved to tears, nor would you be for some time to come. 

Until you had more experience listening to music and investigating the feelings and their effects on you. Something had happened as a result of those closeted eavesdropping moments.  Only last week, listening to something, you were transported back into the world of your curious, hungry, secretive self.

Experience is an event in which you either participated or became soaked by the random spray of its broadcast.  In many cases, you were not the originating cause of the event, perhaps little more than a witness.  Yet, you've remember the incident over the years to the point where it is a defining element of who you are, neither an item of nostalgia nor trauma, merely there for the endless drama of unsettled meaning.

You embrace the presence of experience in your real time life and in story, taking comfort in the awareness that story begins when two or individuals have differing perceptions of the same experience.

True enough, there are some stories of single individuals or, in one of the more memorable ones, Jack London's "To Build a Fire," a man and a dog.  But such things are rare.  The real experiences are stories and events wherein clashes of opinion and passions flare up, reminding you of the boyhood and adult experiences of watching fireworks displays.

Experiences are your best chances for forging a self you can live with and write with.  Through the introduction of characters, who are assenting and dissenting voices of your own voice, you can edit the experiences that cost you the most concern and invent experiences that will open doors for you.

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