Resisting Structure

Hook, Plot 1, Pinch 1, Midpoint, Pinch 2, Plot 2, Resolve.
Start with Plot 2, Hook, Midpoint. Fill in the gaps.

An little exercise in storytelling.
What do you do when the hook is what hooks you as a writer? And the Plot 2 point seems almost irrelevant in your own involvement with the story?

Maybe it is poem, not a story? Isn’t every poem a story, though?

Is retrospective technique a stale way to deliver the necessary exposition?

I watched an adaptation of The Seagull yesterday, and I wondered if they’d hopped over all exposition. If I had come to the story without knowing the story, would I have been confused? (And that is aside from the Russian/Shakespearean thing where characters go by so many names it can spin your head: what did she call him?)

I had to turn off a film halfway through the other day because it was breaking my heart. I still don’t know where the story goes past the Midpoint. It lingers in my mind though, the fairy-tale like hook, plot, pinch. I feel like a kid: “Shhh. Hush. Stop talking. This is too much.”

I lie in bed and the story comes, and I feel like a climber who has barely made it up the first steep climb, and needs to rest and consider whether the second one will be endurable – what makes it worth it? At this point, have I already had the experience?

What is finishing bring to the experience, really, but a sense of finality? There’s nothing in the exposed composition to foreshadow hope.

Are there stories we need, but don’t want? Are there stories we need to break off from the source and finish on our own?

Or is watching/reading part of a story that moves you this much like observing a painting with a corner of the canvas hidden? Impolite? Disrespectful to the individual artist?

It is all individual. Stanislavsky said that generality is the enemy of all art. So where is the fine line of specificity? No one watches the actors and knows all the actor’s work.

I wrote that last sentence twice. Changed it again. No one “sees” all of the actor’s work is debatable, I guess.

It is the invisible stitch of poetry that holds everything together. The backside of the tapestry. Robert Bly talked about it, and so did Aristotle.

Sometimes when I have seen something that really, really moves me, I want to share the space of savoring but say absolutely nothing. I know that the invisible stitch is an individual kind of knowledge. And if you tug at it, it might unravel. Shhh.

So does this mean I don’t trust the storyteller to end it right? Does this mean I fear the storyteller will expose my wild imagination as something too fanciful? Too beyond the pale? Too disconnected from everyone else’s story?

I remember reading as a kid. I could often be completely lost in a book, going through my day with one foot in another world, like wearing a new color or all the fragrances of another landscape as an invisible cloak. Sometimes it was heavy and dark. But always, always magical. Into myself and outside of myself at the same time. A part of my consciousness stitched into an invisible alternate reality. Another reality so individual it opens up into the nothingness of everything.

If I stay here… at the midpoint… I can stay here.

2 Replies to “Resisting Structure”

  1. Superb.

    I always say a poem is a novel on a page.

    There are many stories we don’t want to hear or read.

    It’s those stories which allow us make them our stories that are great stories. Universal truths.

    You know I have never much cared for structure. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s because life doesn’t really have one either, and when we live ourselves into structures is when all the troubles begin.


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