Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reflecting with my Evil Reflection

Evil Reflection: Hey! Is everything okay over there? You’ve been blasting and trumpeting away the whole day.

Billy: I’m blowing my nose. It’s called a cold. You should try it sometime. It’s loads of fun.

Evil Reflection: I’ll think about it. Anyway, what are you reading?

Billy: Oh, just some training pamphlet from work. It’s about different personality types and how to deal with them. You know, Type A, Type B, and stuff.

ER (evil reflection): Right. Lemme guess: you’re Type T for Tight-Ass?

Billy: That’s totally original.

ER: You got it.

Billy: Actually it smacks of C.S. Lewis’s Four Loves business. And as much as I admire the learned Professor, I finished the book with the nagging conclusion that he was still oversimplifying the subject. I mean, humans are unimaginably complex and the psychological construct cannot be charted and mapped out with a few generalized attributes. It’s bogus. It’s untenable.

ER: C.S. Lewis? Wasn’t he a homosexual? What do they know about love?

Billy: You are evil. Have I ever mentioned that before?

ER: Possibly. Probably.

Billy: Well, you’re definitely not complex. I’d say you are an Expressive Expressive.

ER: Err, what? Espresso, you say?

Billy: No, according to the training there are four main personality types: Analytical, Driver, Expressive, and Amiable. You are most assuredly not Amiable. Fo shizzle.

ER: I’m feeling the love. They should add another personality type for you: Bitchy. And as your secondary characteristic: Crotchety.

Billy: I’ll pass the suggestion on. Everyone’s pretty much in general consensus that I’m an Expressive, but—

ER: --I concur. This is my resounding concurrence.

Billy: Um...very nice. I concur with your concurrence of everyone’s concurrence. I’m a writer, for God’s sake. Of course I’m expressive. How does the poet rhapsodize lyrically if he isn’t an Expressive. It’s the other characteristic that’s in question.

ER: Crotchety. Believe me.

Billy: I’ll keep that in mind. Some want to dub me a Driver, some purely Expressive. I say I’m Analytical Expressive. You should see the fervent remonstrance of those who don’t want me to belong to the Analytical quadrant. The idea that an Expressive could also be equally Analytical. It’s bogus. It’s untenable.

ER: Crotchety.

Billy: In truth, I’d say I’m an Uber-Analytical.

ER: Uber-Anal, more like.

Billy: Because a writer—a decent writer, at least—has to be equally analytical and expressive. The rigorous combination of logic and creativity. And while the imagination is the fuel of the narrative, it is tempered at every point by constant intellectual analysis, by evaluating and assessing each thought, by drawing upon vast readings and previous studies, by contrasting and comparing each minute element, by turning words over and over in the mind, agonizing and mulling for hours over a single phrase; by examining all the possible variations of a subject, often involving intense research, and then the time to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize that information into your work, be it fiction or nonfiction. As a writer I’m in a perpetual state of sustained, systematic analysis, only my subject isn’t the trivial aspects of work—it’s life itself. Especially people. Their mannerisms, demeanors, their idiosyncrasies, their different gaits, expressions, how they interact, the tone and timbre of their voice, etc. Honestly, I wish I weren’t an analytical. I wouldn’t be irked by every grammatical, spelling, and punctuation error that I come across. I’d sleep much better at night, instead of lying awake with a dozen thoughts crowding for further contemplation, seizing hold of observations and dissecting them, taking them apart to carefully scrutinize them,and then gleaning from what I can.

ER: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Billy: Just the other day I was reading an essay by Ursula Le Guin about this very issue. In an article entitled ‘Where I Get My Ideas From.’ And I quote: ‘The writer writing, then, is trying to get all the patterns of sounds, syntax, imagery, ideas, emotions, working together in one process, in which the reader will be drawn to participate. This implies that writers do one hell of a lot of controlling.’ Le Guin goes on, but I think the point she makes is that we writers really have the burden of being both analytical and expressive—that it requires a high degree of both characteristics to be a good writer.

ER: Ursula Le Guin? Isn’t she a lesbian? What do they know about writing?

Billy: You incorrigible twat.

ER: Hey! What are you doing? Back away. You’re sick, I don’t want your amoebas.

Billy: I need to adjust the mirror. You’re all askew, tilting too far to the left.

ER: That’s because I’m showing my support for Obama. You should, too.

Billy: Oh, please let’s don’t start on that again. For the hundredth time, I’m not voting Obama.

ER: You pathetic sob. If you wanna support a geriatric old misanthrope who—Argh! Just great! You sneezed on me. Now I’ve got bogeys smeared all over me.


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