Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Im-fucking-patient

Your fascination with the notion of viable, front-rank characters being defined by their ardent wishes to achieve a specific goal reminds you of the person you were at various stages of your life to date.

At the present time, you use the word "impatient" in relation to a character, both to yourself and your own compositions, and to editorial clients and students.  

The word impatient is almost onomatopoetic in nature, sounding to you as though it embodied within its three syllables a desire to get on with it, get things done.  Im--coming through loudly as not.  Not at all willing to wait for results.  Pay--shient.  Hardly evocative of zen-like stoicism or yoga mats, unrolled and waiting.

You first heard the word impatient in any memorable sense from your mother, who assured you that you indeed were.  If she hadn't qualified the word even farther by adding a so to it, as in so impatient, you might not have seen the slightest hint of the negative in it because, on sober reflection, you were impatient.  You thought of it more as enthusiastic or eager, a kind of perpetual let's get the show on the road, even though you often had no idea what the show was nor indeed what road it was you wanted the show on.

In those times, you frequently had urges for adventure and discovery you could scarcely contain, much less describe.  That was certain to have been impatience for action, for engagement, for, in fact, the very things you began to discover in reading.  

You were impatient for transportation to places where there were rhinoceros, tigers, cheetahs, or to be in Monument Valley, eating mutton stew and fry bread.  Wherever you were, you were certain to be observant, stoic, on good terms with the locals to the point where they trusted you, invited you to be an observer at their rituals.

The probable difficulty was the procession of days as a prepubescent boy, where the only possibilities for adventure were the walk to and from school, where there was some sense of being if not on a safari, at least on some exploratory search for the likes of Doctor Livingston.

Yes, you had an agenda.  You wished to grow up, by which you meant an almost mystical shift in status to the point where you could come and go as you please and had the means to pick up such equipment as you needed along the way.  

Being a boy was by no means awful, but it was limiting until you discovered reading and imagination.  With reading and imagination, the limitations of boyhood became at least bearable, but you were impatient for the time when you no longer had to rely on reading and imagination; your participation could be less vicarious

Impatient has come to mean, both for you and your characters, arrival at achievement.  You were impatient for publication, for new story ideas, for the sense of engaging new stories to completion, for the adventure of new stimuli.

All the while, you were dealing with characters who wanted things so badly they would lie, cheat, steal, and compromise their values to achieve them, then be faced with the results at the other end of the transaction, which generally meant guilt or remorse.

In a true sense, you grew with your impatience and, as you began to discover, your impatience grew with you and your characters.  You wished to have a larger range of responses and goals in order to assist your characters in their impatience to arrive at these levels.

There are characters who are driven, desperate sorts, their behavior a reflection of this equivalent of being wound as taut as a spring inside.  You prefer the impatient individuals who are, in your view, the more viable and complicated.  To be blunt, you are not as impressed with those driven over the edge of reality and conscience by some inherent flaw in wiring or character.  You want truer, more capable and imaginative sorts, driven by the constant thrum of impatience.

In your own work habits, you are impatient to get at such characters, look for ways to allow them to see their impatience the way the three witches in Macbeth recognize their cats for the familiars they in fact are.

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