Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reach vs Grasp

I've always yearned to write a significant story, one that elicits tears and deep felt emotion, perhaps something of significant social value or a mind-blowing revelation. I occasionally find such short stories, always written by others.  When I do run across such I  tell myself that I could have done better and then tear the tale apart to find out how in holy hell the author managed to cast his/her spell on me. Was it their word choice, their phrasing, or the underlying structure of the tale (i.e. plot+sequence?)  Was it the conceptual framework that held me in thrall or was it the gripping introduction or later development that made the telling magical?  I often go through this sort of analysis as a learning experience, not intending possible plagiarism.*

But when I intend to write something with serious heft using that knowledge something always goes awry.  Somewhere along the way, I find myself making some humorous aside, or giving the hapless protagonist a self-critical observation then, in the blink of an eye, the tale is turned into something less than originally intended, even when the result is publishable.  I seem to be my own worse enemy, self-sabotaging my initial dramatic narrative. This usually casts me into such depths of despair that I end up writing humor.

Why does my reach for meaningful stories always exceed my grasp?  Why do I always trip shy of the finish line or worse, find myself diverted onto a different path than I mapped, and finding my story expressing a different purpose than intended?  Those pieces that do evoke some emotion occur almost by accident instead of being deliberately planned; sudden scenes that arise from my muddled unconscious without forethought.  Is it a failure of resolve, a willingness to dissemble, or simply a lack of talent?

What am I doing wrong?
*but I have to admit I am sorely tempted at times.


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