Monday, January 4, 2016

Yard Sale

If a thing is in fact what it appears to be, and if a person/character/individual proves out to be an exact equation, with similar aspects on both sides of the equal sign, the tendency is to pass over that thing or individual without taking further notice.

Persons are drawn instead to the hint of the abnormal, the anomaly, the natural or quite deliberate camouflage which they, with their well-articulated vision, are able to detect. If individuals are living up to the levels of ability they hope and imagine themselves to have at default, they become, by default, able to see which things and individuals are ordinary, which are not, and why they are not.

You've drawn quite a binary here, in essence the ordinary and the remarkable.  You don't put in much time promoting yourself as either, preferring instead to be a witness and a reporter to the things and individuals about you.  

Nevertheless, on some level, you've not been able to give up the binary.  In support of this, you are assiduous in your search for the remarkable thing, the remarkable person, the remarkable character, thus you seek definition by and from the extraordinary.

Looking at some basic essentials, you begin by giving voice to the notion that appearances matter.  You prefer things and individuals with extraordinary rather than ordinary appearances.  You reckon most--more than fifty percent--readers prefer extraordinary characters.  In addition, you reckon that a character who first takes stage seeming ordinary will undergo a change by which she or he will elevate to a more distinctive plateau.

You are so accustomed to this metric that second or subsequent readings of a particular novel jolt you with the surprise of how far characters have evolved in their goals and quirkiness.  True enough, recent times have put greater pressures on characters, making their goals more desperate or driven, but this perspective allows the false vision of the fraught nature of the present to blot out the constant of every era having its own disasters, pressures, conflicts, and apparent shortcuts to an apocalypse.

This leaves you where you began this speculative essay, looking for remarkable things, individuals, and cultural themes, finding in some remnant shop or yard sale a length of hand-woven material, waiting for discovery.

You are delighted to find such things in the things about you, delighted when some display on a table top or window sill draws you into their vibrant presence.  Without awareness of cynicism, you sometimes imagine the yard sale value of such things, a small Zuni fetish, for instance, or one of your mother's favorite china teacups.  25 cents?  A dime?  

Wrong thinking, of course.  Things have intrinsic beauty or not, just as individuals do.  Our task is to look for both, and we know, don't we, where the search begins.

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