Archive for March, 2010

22
Mar
10

Killing the fatted enigma

Enigma01.jpg picture by zanzinece

“The Enigma of Desire” © Salvador Dali

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Why would anyone want to craft a story?  What would drive a person to it?  I like to think it’s the play of sentient beings period, like all animals I’ve seen, both wild and tame, shift into a rip-and-tear of deviltry, and then resume their usual patterns of survival as if nothing had just happened.  Play at will.  Simple, clean, an unexplained desire rising up and being allowed out, no question, because there’s nothing to weigh it down.

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Seems as soon as there’s some lead weight involved—like the Ego’s need to grouse or be great or to presume that other folks are jonesing to know its most convoluted thoughts or grievances—any endeavor is shot, to include writing stories, writing anything.

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I like to think the itch to write a story comes from a desire to find out about something, anything, maybe even to learn about some part of ourselves that could do with a good chasing down, flushing out, examining, and needs or wants to be used to give some story character life, but in the end made friends with by us.  Or at least made something by us, some satisfying thing and not a thing that adds weight to us.  That would be anti-story.

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Poison to a well told tale is weight, baggage, personal issues.  If just one lead balloon isn’t converted to a helium-filled one in a moment of artful, if not playful, plot or character construction, readers can sniff the disease of it miles away and avoid it like the plague it is.  Go spew in a journal somewhere instead.  Because no one needs more dis-ease on top of their own.  Most folks read to escape or learn, which can be a form of escape.

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Escaping ignorance.  Escaping weight.  A near miss, the avoidance of a mid-air on the flight out.  Thankya Jesus and pass the Percocet.

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It feels good and right that a story might also come out of a human’s hungry, busy-brained primal need to chew the meat off a Paradox’s bones, to figure out puzzles, build puzzles of our own, intricate pathways that twist back on each other and become gritty rats’ nests or world-class labyrinths.  And all this from the insatiable need to build stuff, to make some thing out of no thing, to create something that works from parts that, by themselves, don’t work.

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Why would I want to craft a story?  Because that’s what a writer’s supposed to do.  My Ego wants to be a great writer and writing stories is what great writers do.  The comeback is simple:  fuck that.  Another poison.  Note to self:  put the vial down and walk away.  And don’t come back until you’re driven here by sniggering devils ripping and tearing at your heels, by the best kind of insanity, a brain pushed past tolerance for flat-lining to desperation for the blood of a fatted Enigma.

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Now go outside and play.  The game of life—love, hate, war, peace—the big crapshoot.  Says the gambler, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

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“The Gambler” lyrics

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness
‘Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, “Son, I’ve made my life out of readin’ people’s faces,
And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
so if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

When he’d finished speakin’, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.
chorus x3

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Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” clips:

Live performance:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn481KcjvMo

With movie clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z42avv3KBCU

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