Sunday, September 18, 2016

Implications, Innuendoes, and Outliers

Against the grain of your wish to remain compassionate to all your characters, however flawed their yearnings and visions, you're faced with the challenging binary of your own more-or-less Marxist vision of Reality and  some alternate prejudice brought on by one or more of your characters.

You cannot be content to allow story to be a mere setting and your characters little more than wind-up toys, set loose to work toward their goals without further consideration. This may well have been your vision of story when you began, but in the interim, you've read too many works of others with qualities of dimension and humanity, and written too many works of your own with these explicit qualities lacking to some degree or altogether.

No wonder the ambient noise of your early writing days was the sound of a sheet of manuscript paper being wrenched from the platen of a manual or electric typewriter, then fisted into a compact wad to be tossed at the resident wastebasket, itself papered over with the rejection slips from proposed landing sites.

No wonder, as well the long periods of investigating, of reading each successive short story or novel that came your way as though they were study guides for some important examination. These stories and novels you read, reread, and have encountered only this year are in fact study guides, even crib sheets, ample demonstrations of how, well before yo9ur arrival on this planet, men and women were accomplishing goals you've been setting for yourself since, to pick a starting point, you were at age seventeen.

More likely than not, your political and philosophical views were well along their way to being forged in those remote years of your teens. You require the emotional and intellectual vocabulary to be able to describe these vital subsets of story, these implications, innuendos, and outliers that make story real for you and cause you to fit yourself into story with the same insouciance of your days fitting yourself into a suit from J.Press or a jacket from Ben Silver.

The vocabulary is a long time coming, perhaps not so long as the awareness that you have to write the stories and novels in which the vocabulary is spelled out for you, nevertheless a long time arriving. The process drove you on a pilgrimage wilder and more fraught than the beset rabbit of Alice in Wonderland. 

You visited libraries, used book stores, and Good Will outlets as though each were the end outcome of a treasure map, containing the one book or magazine that would cause you to see process as you'd never seen it before and as you'd always be able to see it thereafter. 

One afternoon, while you were in a used book venue--for store is simply not a sufficient description--in Long Beach, California, you understood the same kind of transcendent experience that exploded over you when you were first allowed to enter the subterranean stacks of the Lawrence Clark Powell Library at UCLA. You were in each case transported to a place where you were surrounded by aspects of the power you sought to channel.

At least you understood that much; one does not hold or in any other way possess the power. If one is fortunate, the power passes through one. You were, at the time, already employed as an editor, in the company of a writer you'd already published more than once. At this point, you'd seen in person many of the men and women who, so far as you were concerned, had the power running through them. You'd also seen some of them, lunging after the power the way a small child lunges at a helium balloon that has got away from them.

Standing between the enormity of book-filled shelves at Acres of Books, you caught the eye of your author. "There is so damned much to be learned in here," you said.

"It hurts, just thinking about it," the author said.

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