Wednesday, August 1, 2012

an almost genetic fallacy

Recently I was looking at some of Eliot's thoughts and Tom borrowed this concept and tilted it for his literary purposes and so I decided I would borrow his tilted fallacy and tilt it some more for mine. I should admit that what he says isn't a clean parallel with a problem I have been having, but it seems to me it's close enough. Namely, how does a writer re-enter/continue/pick up where left off a large piece and maintain some cohesion when said writer is writing from a radically different place in their life? When one is a largely different person?

We all know fixing a sentence or paragraph is easily done, and maybe a different writer is as preferable as the original for the requisite emotional distance, functioning more as close reader rather than author, focusing less on the pleasures of the author and entirely the interests of the reader. Donald Hall writes a poem and puts it in a drawer for 6 months before he next looks at it. I believe this to be more rule than exception and, as the roughness of these blog posts demonstrate, a desired approach.

But what when reader/writer realizes something needs be tossed, scrapped entirely, taken in a different direction? Or just finished? It is time for the author to appear and do his stuff. It is time for the author to feel through the existing piece and create space within an internal sense of its totality. Needed: author's vision, and all that falls in line behind that. But if that author is dead? What then?

(Thank you, Alan Mudd: Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody cascading my windows during this needed timeout. Loving the Pandora.)

Well this is a hard argument for me to make because a large part of me says, Horse shit. But that part doesn't sit down to continue the work and write the most tone deaf ill-fitting sentences that were surely written by someone else. Time, then. Yes, that's all that's needed. How much, I say. And also, Wouldn't that be nice. And also, I'll believe that for now because: A) I have no proof one way or the other; B) It's less disturbing to believe so until proven otherwise makes sense to be hopeful (unless, of course, there is a great opportunity cost involved: so far, No, or not measurable; but being delusional is never without substantial cost).

So while I am nagged by this argument (one of the many I keep active, like an incessant autistic juggler who also throws knives to keep his hands busy) I know I must move, in some direction. I am finally prepared for both outcomes: either I can meld old and new (or again revert to old - we can debate how desirable this is at another time) or old must be scrapped, attributed to a cost of living, and that is that. No sense crying over spilled milk, or words.

But, of course, that is exactly what I have until very recently been doing, crying over what I can not seem to do now that I could do before. The thought that this (beautiful) chunk of my life gets tossed - well, has held me captive. And who better to encapsulate this than Mike Tyson: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. So get up and fight with what you've got left or get the hell out of the ring.

I am far from done with this. But for now I will continue to write to see if old me lives or if not, how miserable I must be with new me. The preliminary results suggest that I am needing a heavy dose of whimsy. Other opinions appreciated.

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