Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Choices We Think We Have When We Think We Have Choices

Most writers you know feel as though they had not so much chosen storytelling for their principal means of identity as storytelling had in fact chosen them. This turn of phrase qualifies as a pathetic fallacy because it acknowledges story as an animate thing; it also deals with logic in ways storytelling has throughout the years dealt with it, which is to say by exposing the universes of storytelling and drama at their most resonant quality as arts rather than sciences.

In similar manner, most writers you know are content with the apparent anomaly of living with at least one limb in the world or art, the other in the world of science. You, to dip into the barrel of anecdote, are often content to allow your judgment to trust or rely on the outcome of scientific discussion. 

No sooner having done so, you are also content to risk the consequences of outcome on so-called gut reaction or, if you will, intuition. You recognize this position as a fence straddle, your temporary solution to the inevitable consequence of being a product of particular times. And you recognize the need to get off the fence because, like it or not, you were born into a world where the humanity of which you are a part has begun to conjure more triggering consequences. This is so for the reductionist fact of humanity being extensive enough to nearly strangle this rotating orb we live on.

Story and drama give us ways to see and feel better able to deploy about the extraordinary interplay of activity and consequence.

With your acceptance of writing having chosen you comes the image of yourself at grade three or four level, simultaneously eager for the physical participation of play at sports and the awareness you were not much good at many of them, When sides were being chosen, you were keen to be chosen, at the same time uncertain of your abilities, aware in ways you could not do descriptive justice to the feeling of being breathless and sweaty after play.

When you reached the level of being able to make such judgments, you were pleased to be chosen by the writer team, somewhat respectful of those who could draw and paint well, increasingly respectful of those who were chosen to play musical instruments, given to degrees of coolness and outright disdain to those chosen by such things as mathematician, historian, teacher, and the so-called soft trades of selling.

With a similar resolve to your determination to work at bettering your athletic skills, you later set forth to better yourself in your reading and writing skills, mindful the two were a package. Reason and intuition told you there was no way to advance your writing abilities without reading, and spoke as well to the outcome of your reading skills revealing more coded information to you as a bi-product of your writing.

A child of your times,of the Great Depression, the effects of World War II, and the rung of the social ladder onto which you found yourself, you inherited tastes, tendencies, and proclivities in your reading. These in turn influenced  the writing that came directly from your instincts, and the ways you found for coping with the binary of commercial fiction and literary.

Lacking the insights to engage your abilities in the kinds of conversations you'd ultimately begin to have, you turned to the plot-driven, one- and, if you were fortunate, two-level skeins of action and their consequences, hopeful the time spent analyzing and dissecting plot-driven materials would in the richness of time provide you with an entry into the literary world.

You enjoyed well-plotted stories for their punch-line resolution in much the same way you enjoyed a well-related joke. But an hilarious punchline to a joke, and a "therefore it follows", geometry theorem-type closure  left you wanting more, the added dimensions you sometimes saw, sometimes missed in literary fiction, in particular humorous literary fiction, by which you meant a narrative of some painful or distasteful consequence, into which had been injected at least one hilarious scene if not two or three of mischievous device.

The punch line from a joke was never quite enough, nor was the often ironic note of a well-plotted short story.  Ha ha and so what. You wanted the meat course, the story course rather than the plot-driven result.

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