So, this is pretty much a part two of yesterday’s post. So you might want to read that first if you haven’t already. Today is going to be mostly inspired by Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon, Whitishrabbit‘s comments yesterday. Also loads of Modernism/Post-Modernism lectures at Uni. And probably some other stuff.
You can basically translate that whole first paragraph as meaning that I’m going to be a bit pretentious…but then..if you’ve been here before then you know that already.
So let’s get going.
Basically, yesterday we discussed the problems with the fact that possibilities become defined as we read or write. The options close down and there become less available routes available to us. Our myriad hopes and dreams are crushed by the one dominant course of action that plots itself.
The thing is that this ain’t all that bad.
The thing about writing, reading (and life) is that it’s fun. There’s always more possibilities than you think and there’s always more things to do.
You start off with an blank page, and in your mind that represents a chaotic and dramatic struggle of a million and twenty ideas, characters, events, plots, concepts..whatever. This huge disorganised mass of options that could go down. Twenty six letters, then another 26 to choose from after that. The options increase exponentially. Disorganisation rules. All the words in all the languages in worlds are available for that opening. Then anything you can fit after that.
I mean…just how many sentences are there to use?
That blank page could become anything. It could be a magic carpet to take you to far off Arabian bazaars, it could be a Longboat ready to take you to watch the spectacle of Fimbulwinter, it could be a patch of Earth for you to grow beautiful flowers in.
And that’s assuming you lack imagination and use the old tropes that have already been worn out; and even if you do that it could still be something amazing, because your mind remains different to everyone elses.
There’s lots of options…it’s chaos…that’s what I’m saying.
But then you make that first mark on the page.
That first miraculous mark, followed by the next, and the next.
So much pouring out, before you know it, the chaotic whiteness of possibility has been filled with the black marks of order.
Where there was nothing, now there is something. A story. A tale is being woven. An image is captured.
Creation…right there…on that little bit of paper. (Go and watch Mirrormask, Stephen Fry’s Librarian relates a similar creation myth…its also a good film).
And order is created.
That’s what’s wonderful, its not the possibilities lost, its the one that gets found. Defined, properly explored. It stops being a nebulous haze of thought, and becomes a solid, defined and reified piece of something. You can follow the thread now, see where it leads.
Out of the labyrinth.
You reverse entropy.
The structure becomes more organised.
Okay, so you don’t actually break any laws of Thermodynamics…that would be silly.
But you create something out of chaos.
Pynchon carves these ridiculously lost and confused passages. Charts the passages of things falling apart. And leaves you hanging, dangling, waiting for a conclusion that will never come. He plays the game both ways. Leads you down a long dark tunnel of strangeness, raises mysteries and loses you in them. He takes you forward, ever forward, and then leaves you realising you’re on the wrong of the cliff edge.
You’re back in the chaos. You’ve no idea what happens next.
It’s a great feeling. But you’ve been bought there by that tunnel. Choices have to be made to lead you to that point. The route has taken you so far..and your imagination takes over.
Things fall apart all the time.
Try putting something together.
Try and lead people along with you, show them a path (remember it will be different for them….no matter how well you make your path it still looks different through the eyes of another) and lead them somewhere exciting.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the blind leading the blind. Just because you don’t know where you’re going doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere.
Doesn’t even matter if it’s nowhere…as long as the journey is fun.
Let things fall together.
It’s a good ride.