Saturday, December 10, 2011

pronoun (AKA probably the strangest thing I've written in my life)

Picture taken from http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/media/images/aurora_australis_h.jpg, courtesy of The Internet. Image depicts the aurora australis (yes, the Southern Lights exist), as seen from space.
 As the title of this post suggests, the piece I am about to share with you is pretty much the strangest thing I've ever written.

As the tags that I've attached to this post tell, this piece is a short story, fairly literary, a little pretentious and quite strange, and it involves Shakespeare, grammar, and abuse of text formatting.

I'm actually rather proud of it, once I get past how strange it is.


pronoun
(or, Mercutio)
(or, cheshire cat)
(or, Muse)
(or, a pointless piece)



You often wonder what the deal is with second-person.

It seems to be pretty universally disapproved of by the powers that be. No personal voice, no second-person, no I think. To write a paper, you must detach yourself from yourself, and write everything as if it were either a fact or happening to someone else. No room for gray areas, which you have learned to appreciate over the last year or so.

The creative population tends to shy away from it as well, you notice. Perhaps it's too startling for them, this sudden immersion into someone else's mind--or might it really be yours?

But when you step back, you realize that it's just another technique, another style, so why bother shying away from it? Why bother being startled by it? Why bother banning it? It's just another way.

You appreciate people who try to use second-person. (especially second-person with no proper capitalization. although at school you mold yourself into grammar-nazi mode, you always revert back to that connection--that immersion--that stylistic writing can make. especially second-person with no proper capitalization italicized and in parenthesis with wordsrunningtogethertocreateonethought. quite the emphasis.)

You appreciate people who try to analyze second-person. You think they're very cute. But there is no analysis here, only understanding. (never mind that, right now, this is you.)

What would be the implications if, instead of the assumed "you = the speaker", the speaker is actually a completely seperate entity from "you"? What would happen if I suddenly revealed my presence? Would the reader suddenly drop into another level of incomprehensible dimensions?

(because I am talking to YOU; are YOU listening?)


(why do WE capitalize "I" and not "YOU", or indeed, any subject? aren't YOU just as important as I am, or SHE is, or THEY are, or WE all strive to be?)

You aren't answering. But I'm not about to assume that doesn't mean you're listening. (listening, reading, writing, talking, thinking--what's the difference? what are the similarities? they're all verbs.)

I've officially decided: this story is going nowhere. Story? Can I even call it a story? Perhaps "piece" would be better, or "ramble"; after all, there is no conflict, no resolution. (at least, not ones that meet the eye. but we'll ignore that for now.) It's nothing, really. Just insubstantial fluff from a wandering mind. The stuff of clouds. To quote Shakespeare, "the stuff that dreams are made on" (onnotof), which is really what we all are. Nothing important, really.

(nothing except everything. but let's ignore that for now.)

I've just been reminded of Mercutio. You know, Romeo's best friend, the Prince's kinsman (bet you forgot that), the one with the "Queen Mab" speech. In his very first scene, he goes off on a ramble about the fairy who brings dreams to people, only to burst into tears and claim that all of his thoughts mean absolutely nothing, that they're insubstantial and pointless and whyshouldheevencontinuetalkinganyways? And yet he does.

(oh, and did I forget to mention--he dies. act three, scene one. "A plague o' both YOUR houses! THEY have made worms' meat of ME.")

Are you still listening? I wouldn't blame you if you stopped. It's hard to listen to someone as scattered as me, with my philosophical, nonsensical rants. No wonder movie adaptations severely cut down the "Queen Mab" speech.

Do I sound insane to you? If I do, I apologize; if I don't, then I am very sincerely sorry.

(so very sincerely sorry. probably.)

We're outside right now, in case you haven't noticed. It's cold. The sky is a pale shade of blue-gray (periwinkle, that's the word) and the grass is, as always, greener on the other side.

The other side of what? you wonder.

The other side of life. I would give it a name, but first I have to figure out if we're sane or insane or somewhere in-between (because there's always a gray area). Can you help?

(no, you don't think you can. you've learned to appreciate gray areas, remember?)

I've been reminded again. Of Shakespeare. Of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. (they died, too. "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead." so matter-of-fact. you would hate to have your death announced like that.)


(but "All the world's a stage", and the show must go on. no one cares what you think.)


(no one cares what you think. that's probably why they try to shy away from second-person.)


("A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I suppose this is where pronouns fit in.)

Did you think Shakespeare was just some stuffy old dead guy, before this? Normally I refrain from pressing my opinions, but I must tell you to reconsider. There's a lot of truth in his words. Especially from those who end up dead.

I'm so very sincerely sorry, but I must tell you that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Hamlet and Ophelia are dead. Romeo and Juliet are dead. Mercutio is dead. "These violent delights have violent ends." So very sincerely sorry. Probably.

(it's moved out of parentheses, did you notice? do you take the time to notice things like that?)

How long have you been listening, waiting patiently to tell me something?

(as I said before: listening, reading, writing, talking, thinking--what's the difference? what are the similarities? they're all verbs.)

(what's the deal with verbs? why is doing something so important? that is a musing for another day, my friend.)

A musing. I like that. A musing. A muse. Amuse. Amused?

Sometimes... sometimes I try to see the world how I know some people must see it. In reason. In logic. Fact, observation, conclusion. (underneath every fact there are a thousand assumptions, but let's forget that for now.)

Fact: This piece is titled "pronoun" [among other things].

Observation: Pronouns seem to be used in place of a person's name.

Conclusion: I am I [myself], and you are you [yourself], and he is he [himself], and they are they [themselves], and we all are what we all are, so let's sit back and muse some more [because--don't you know? we're all mad here].

...

...

"I don't get it," he said, brow furrowing.

She grinned. "Of course you don't."

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