Thursday, September 8, 2016

Something's Gotta Give

Theme, the underlying motif or metaphorical elephant in the narrative living room, often requires two or more drafts to extract. You know enough not to start with it, lest the work begin to assume a propagandistic or moralizing tone, relying, instead on its discovery, its exhumation, as it were, from an archaeological dig site.

As a consequence of this awareness, you've come to recognize one of your more incessant themes to be how unlikely the circumstances for anything, upon early, cursory examination, being what it appears at first blush to be. Nothing, you have written with some frequency, is what it seems.

Another of your themes, as throbbing as a toothache, outs the Devil for residing in the details. Placed together, these two observations provide a double bind formula, not only for narrative but world view, attitude, and response. 

With the given assumption of drama being any notion in which two or more characters appear within a predetermined landscape, say that of young Antigone appearing in the landscape and political sphere of her uncle, King Creon, then proceed at dynamic cross purposes, each in search of a different outcome until a singular, revelatory outcome is reached.

Thus, Nothing is what it seems, yet everything stands for Something. By way of a footnote or parenthetical addition, you could add relevance to the equation of story; not so much a matter of Everything has a meaning, rather everything relevant in a particular story relates to some degree with the theme or throughline.

In this last case, the Devil or dramatic vector drives the story, amplifying it, causing readers and characters to see how story filters out randomness, how there is in fact a parallel universe governed by a causality with such a low center of gravity that it often trips itself over, creating the impression that certain characters (and thus, some goals) are fated, doomed, predestined.

This matters to us because of our out-of-drama experiences in which Reality appears as more random than the parts of Dr. Frankenstein's monster. We can appreciate and explain determinism, Fate, kismet, or whatever better than we can appreciate the quotidian simplicity of randomness. Thus some explanation for the so-called absurdist vision which, when taken to its extremes, becomes the comedy of the absurd.

On a scale of one to ten with ten being the high-water mark, you prefer your absurdity at about an eight, higher if possible, and your own work that continues to remain memorable to you can be rated between eight or nine. Beginnings for you involve a person who wants some eight- or nine-level outcome even more than he or she wants one or more of the cultural goals associated with high achievement.

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