Thursday, March 30, 2017


Stories do not come easily. Certainly not the ones you value. Those come as unexpected, even undreamed of gifts, from unexpected sources, for surprising, random reasons.

All stories are gifts from some source of another. The ones you suspect most are those that come from conventional sources, learned sources, where recepie and formula are the watchwords in the same way curriculum and study guides were watchwords for the teachers who taught you  and for the facts you were supposed to absorb and assimilate.

In a real and demonstrable sense, these suspect stories were ones you were at great pains to understand in order to fulfill some social goal that has no relationship to story or to writing. You wanted to know these recipies and formula not nearly so much for fame or fortune as for a sense of being able to engage with others, watch them, team with or oppose them, but at all costs to engage in the social contract with them.

To see yourself liked, chosen for teams, invited to parties, asked to repeat your own last story by someone who'd heard it to someone who did not.

Fifty or sixty years of learning and striving to be chosen. Such years are barriers that require breeching, conventional wisdom to be unlearned, recipies and formulae to be abandoned along the roadside.

Among the many metaphors you recognize for stories is the one in which the abandoned clumps of personal goods were scattered by those brave individuals who rode their Conestoga wagons west, seeking a place beyond the surveyed lots of civilization.

Some gifts, by whim or humorous tradition, are meant to be awful, given for their absolute lack of appropriateness, given as a teasing recognition of grotesque, gothic, useless and absurd functions.

The good stories are the ones you have to work hardest at, beyond the fifty or sixty years of learning.

The good stories come from reaching into an inconvenient corner of an inconvenient place. Finding them, they bring you an outcome and definition you'd not in the least expected. They bring you the awareness that you are composed of them and the abandoned goods you left roadside on your journey West.

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