Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/15/10: The Necessary Lies

April fifteenth was an interesting day. First I had the taxi slap me like a pissed old lady, and then I got the phrase stuck in my head: "The necessary lies," over and over again. I had gone about cutting the lawn I'd set out for, basking in the warm afterglow of the preceding Experience, and that's when the words jumped in my head, dancing like the good folks of Soul Train. I didn't know what they meant, but I tolerated them, in the way I've learned to humor the oblique things that invade my headspace.


I cut my grass, I went home, I took a shower. Nothing monumental there. And still the phrase is weaving through my thoughts, cryptic as ever. Then I lay down to read, ritual for me when the workday is done. I opened the novel I was entertaining at the time, Mortals by Normal Rush, and not three lines down did I come across the very three words that had infested my gray matter, terminating a sentence. I was dumbstruck.

Now, Logical Me was quick to point out that I could have subconsciously skimmed over the words earlier that day, when I took my postprandial reading-break. It's a phenomenon I'm well acquainted with, actually. I often run across it while editing my fiction: I'll often substitute a word, praising myself for my divine editor's eye, and then discover the very same word a paragraph or two down. Happens all the time. I've concluded we read into things much more than we consciously realize (which extends far beyond literal reading -- we know more than we know).


I began siding with good old Logical Me, that necessary bastard ... but then stopped: I distinctly remembered reading the novel-page containing "the necessary lies" for an extremely brief amount of time. Already into my third five-minute grace-period for finding a good stopping place, I'd been in a hurry to finish up the preceding page and get out of the house, and I'd read no further than the end of the connecting sentence. Which was only two words, right at the top of the page, which I'd quickly devoured before slamming the book shut, having it open no more than a second. Superman couldn't have read the paragraph that fast, consciously or otherwise.

No comments:

Post a Comment