On Commonplacing and Hyperext

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Susan Gibb persists into the text and into the analysis:

The idea finally hit, in the middle of making chicken’n’dumplings for dinner tonight: The Writing Space that’s held me hostage has now officially given me two endings for story #1. As mentioned before, that involves the “special link” in Storyspace of ?(n) — in this case, (n) being 2, or every other time it’s read. I was going to leave a loop and text-link one of the endings, but hey, what’s better than a couple readers arguing about how it ended when only you know that they read two different things? Hee-hee.

What’s interesting here is the implication for Story 1 that it has two endings and not one. But how can this be so? And boy do we love the concept of guard fields.

Well, why not? We may think about endings as being something important to talk about and to “prove.” Consider Lear and its problematic ending. Which one?

A better question may be why multiple paths, not alternative endings (which assumes a primary and secondary set), may be called for a given story. In fiction, endings may be “the start.” Where the story begins assumes that the ending has already been drafted given diagesis. A good example of this is Carver’s Cathedral, where the story has already ended and thus can be told by “Bub.” But enough about that.

I can think of three “important endings.” The first is Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, the second, John Porcellino’s Perfect Example, and Alice Munro’s, Walker Brother’s Cowboy. Solitude‘s ending bangs everything home with a literal whirl of provocative energy. Porcellino’s is a closing that is the very reason why we need story to remember and live (No, I don’t want to explain what I mean by that: the proof is in the work). And Munro is about as true as it gets because the reader is left on the inside to lick the edges of her world.

For Susan, it’s “the writing space” that gives. I know what she means, and it’s in such a description that Storyspace becomes organic, a natural environment where characters take different shape. She writes: “The last text box is never automatically the last. And never necessarily remains where it is within the story.” Like a wonderfully balanced router, the tool fits a given tale. This is nothing that needs proving. The tale will bear it out somehow.

I’m reading through Paths at the moment. I also have the Word version. This is fun.


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