Monday, May 11, 2015

Operating Statement

The more you read, edit, and teach, the more aware you become how rare it is for a narrative voice--any narrative voice--the get the traction of clarity, expressed with the grace of empathy and authenticity.

The ideas and notions that have come out of you over the years bore the eagerness and sincerity of Wilbur and Orville Wright with their attempts at getting off the ground and remaining aloft for more than a few moments.  When there was a sense of lift, you were exulted because this was what you sought, the rush of no longer being connected to the ground.

Much of your efforts have been focused over the ensuing years to remaining aloft a bit longer, being able to maneuver, catch a thermal, and wheel about on the updraft of an idea much like a hawk, scouring the hillside for a sight of its dinner.

You are drawn to the dark, the noir, the adjustments and settlements individuals with dreams and ambition often make with the Cosmos, which includes hard wired humanity along with their own sense of being on a mission and being right about it.

A major feature of the dramatic narrative is some variation on the theme of The Quest, whether it is a hero's journey or that of a rogue.  The Quest may be a search for some abstraction such as an identity or for a specific item, such as the Maltese falcon, which turns out to be so far illusory.  The Quest might also be a spiritual one in which an individual of faith seeks a merging with the godhead, or a reach for great wealth and/or power with which to pursue goals that may be selfish and later become altruistic or the reverse of these.

Such stories end with an exposure of naivete or cynicism, depending on the mood of the writer by the time he or she has worked through the permutations of opposition, loss, and the energy necessary for the final push of inspiration that leads to a dramatic outcome. 

You're reminded of the Brechtian voice associated with a song sung toward the end of The Three-Penny Opera, a cynical aria to happy endings and the recognized sense that things don't work out the way they should because, even if they do, people can't let the matter rest there.

People always want more of something or less than what they have brought upon themselves, and in consequence, these are the individuals who have helped the rest of us form a notion of what an ending or closure should be.  They either all lived happily ever after or they knew they were going to have to live with the experienced consequences of a clusterfuck.

You go about now with a clutter of voices in your head from the writers and their characters of books read past and present, seizing upon the merest silence for a chance to express their own vision of which forces govern and propel the Universe.  

Some of those voices are romantic in nature, which, in your terms has to do with such romantic themes as All for Love, the Latinate version, Amor vincit omnia, and the brotherhood/sisterhood of Humanity.  Other of these voices say in effect that the fucking one gets is not worth the fucking one gets, and, still on the subject, the bittersweet notion of liking to be kissed while one is being fucked.

You still enjoy rooting for underdogs, helping little old ladies across the street, and going out of your way to greet stray dogs.  Your preferences for characters are individuals who may not expect the best but do not settle with ease for the worst.  You'd rather get sick eating too much ice cream and cake at a birthday party than getting drunk and throwing up at a boring celebration.

There is pleasure in seeing a truly vile person being brought up in full humiliation and in participating in a conversation fueled by three or four beers.  Mean drunks turn out to be sober passive aggressives, writers who produce fiction as a way of discovering how they stand on an issue are more likely to inspire than irritate or bore you.

A greater truth is that you go forth most days alone, filled with a sense of good will to most of the persons you encounter, but not taking much of anything for granted.  So long as there is a story to cause you some unanticipated feeling, be it remorse, happiness, exultation, or a sense of having blundered into some degree of competence, you bear no grudges and are not looking for a fight.

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