Have you ever been surprised?
Sometimes I feel like I have waited for years to be surprised. Eventually the time comes when you grow tired of waiting and wanting and I think I am there. And when you stop wanting, perhaps that is when surprise is in fact possible.
Surprise is never a choice, but it isn’t exactly the opposite of choice either. One can live a life that is entirely familiar and one’s own, even if it isn’t entirely what one wants. To be available for something different, that is a choice. Until you move away from cycles of the same, the unexpected isn’t an ally, it is threat.
Ironically, I believe abandoning yourself to the intimacy of others is a sure way to be more of oneself. Being there — being ready and present when abandoning is possible — that is the key. After all they call it falling in love for a reason. But here’s where choice comes in. Allow yourself to be available for that moment when fate delivers and gives you the opportunity to abandon your wait.
Not long ago I started working on a story. I tried writing about people whom I thought made for good stories. Alas I am not very good at stories so I thought it would be best to embrace my weakness.
I tend to get caught in form over content. Clumsy, predictable, dull. So I thought the best way to evade clichés would be to juxtapose my story ideas with what seemed to be entirely incompatible with those ideas.
If you want to write about chance, love and beauty, for example, why not watch a film like Dirty Harry? Seemingly it is a perfect non-fit, is it not?
Dirty Harry. No surprises. No charm. No beauty. A few lame shots — literally — at humor. Sarcastic macho humor buried under grief. Just ragged torn souls making things ugly. That’s Dirty Harry.
But aren’t we all there sometimes? Torn and ugly. Mean and vindictive. Sarcastic and distant. Do we sometimes turn on things that are beautiful? That’s not abandoning oneself to the gifts of fate, that’s just giving up.
So amazingly this juxtaposing of ideas began to work. Stretch it for a minute. Dirty Harry is a bizarre allegory for unrequited love, of love lost maybe. Whatever it is, it borders on cliché, because we have all been there…shattered, angry, scared to death. But Dirty Harry is only a crime drama cliché; it is something entirely different when you think about it for what it is not: A love story.
Do you see how that works? Well, maybe you don’t.
Neither here nor there. It worked for me. I found myself scribbling words that formed a summary of my romance, my story. And I boiled it down to these few lines:
If I had lived more
And offered more than this
Much more than lonely sorrow
Would I have lived to be here
To be here with you tomorrow?
It is merely the voice of a lover asking to be found again, looking to be surprised again. Looking for fate to offer another opportunity. That’s the story.
(Oleuanna, this is a work in progress, but I have completed the circle. Here is Dirty Harry and a poem.)
- Dirty Harry Opening Title sequence. (gregdunnthethird.wordpress.com)
- Chrysler, Dirty Harry and the bailout | Jon Talton (seattletimes.nwsource.com)