Monday, April 15, 2013

Because I Am Silly...

Sometimes I forget to read the titles of articles, books, and short stories. It’s actually kind of weird for me because they are the most enjoyable part of any story to write: anything from obscure Stanley Kubrick references to multiple sentence long abstractions on the feeling of 95% cotton on a bearded face have all made it into my obnoxious headlines.

Where am I getting with this? This is a necessary self-reminder, not  a literary device--I ramble sometimes. I recently became engrossed in this article by Susan Orlean from a collection of literary journalism. She was writing about this wee 10-year old boy-- which was originally supposed to be this story about MaCaulay Culkin but she was super-sassy so that doesn't matter--generally covering the life of cooties and cartridge-based video games.

Stirring me out of my general nostalgia was this quote:

“..the collision in his mind of what he understands, what he hears, what he figures out, what popular culture pours into him, what he knows, what he pretends to know, and what he imagines, makes an interesting mess.”
The agelessness of her analysis struck me as revelatory of what narrative journalism should aspire to become. It seemed so out of the blue, in the midst of Streetfighter II ramblings and elementary school drama, but still wildly appropriate for any age at any time--this young boy just happened to be more impressionable due to his place in time. So natural! So unique! So contemplative!

Then the natural progression of my pause brought my eyes to the tip-top of the page where the title poked itself into my cornea: “The American Man at Age Ten.” Oh, well duh. It is supposed to be removed from time. It is supposed to be about his natural progression. It is supposed to be a contemplation of the beginnings of the male psyche during one such specimen’s formative years.

Now that doesn’t devalue the quote, or the gentle progression towards the general critique that Orlean jumps from the many spring-boarding ‘whats’--it just felt intriguing to have the story told without the obligatory spoiler at the beginning. It isn’t a big spoiler, but just enough to take away my ignorant a-ha moment. Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. Ha!

    Amazing how she creates a sense of timelessness while also writing about a very particular moment in time. How does she achieve this?