Sunday, May 6, 2012
lyft hit vp
A plot is a prompt followed by a prompt. The aunt who looks at Amy and wonders if her employer gave her an outfit for free, is one piece of a machine that Olga Masters builds for her book, a machine that you can call the sub-plot of Amy and Lance, a little drum she touches now and again until the reader is ready to see a conclusion, hoping that the effort that writer and reader have put into this construction doesn't go to waste. They anticipate that Amy will either tell Lance never to come near her again or else the two of them will date, and then other events will come out of that.
The question people ask when they see a strange machine is, What does it do?
Machines are expected to help, to gratify, to entertain, to comfort, to exaggerate speed or finesse or skill, and in this they are like people, how will this machine assist me or annoy me, a person wonders, how will this person assist me or assail me they wonder when a stranger appears in the room, how can I graft them to me, can we make an android together, and be useful? Ruskin was wroth in his diaries when people at a dinner party engaged themselves in small talk and wouldn't tell him any practical facts that he could use -- pointless, he complained: a waste of my time. He wanted them to teach him about geology, or any piece of science. That was what he would respond to; he'd react and a conversation would begin. He was a writer, he knew the opening he wanted, and he was rigid; his wife complained; he stood by the mantlepiece at parties.
Two parts, two beings, teacher and pupil together are a centaur, the mechanical arm fixed to the living shoulder is half an android, the centaur is an android and the android is a centaur, the reader and writer together are both. Olga Masters in the 1980s is screwing the pieces together for her mechanical arm or horse body. The appearance of a machine creates anticipation. The reader lifts the front cover and looks inside, ready to set this contraption going. The Green Knight rides into King Arthur's court where the men and ladies are eating a Christmas lunch of dere mete and he suggests that someone should chop his head off for fun, then, after that, if he survives, they can visit him at home and he will chop their head off in retaliation, a good game, he says, a fantastic entertainment, for these were the days before television.
With that the quest asserts itself, the Knight is strange and aggressive to heighten the mood, and of course he survives the decapitation otherwise this would be a majestically short poem and the story would end there, which it can't, the blood of storytelling itself will not let it end there, on page whatever -- say page five, I don't have the book on me, but early is the point I'm making -- the Knight is forced to survive, the muscle of storytelling gets into his eyes and makes them blink on the detrunked head as it rolls across the floor under the Christmas dining table, getting kicked and spraying gore, then the cruel momentum of the story makes him "lyft hit vp," this head, which is squirting red against his green clothes, and put it back on his shoulders "as non vnhap had hym ayled."
He leaves efficiently and grandly. The story is triumphant, it has manhandled itself into existence, it secures the head on the neck, and the horse gallops out of the dining hall, through whatever architecture leads it to the front door of Arthur's castle. We have to picture this part for ourselves, the exit of the horse from the castle, the horse managing to get through doorways, the horse leaving the building, the Knight looking around to work out how to make his way home from here, he consults an internal map, he guesses the right direction immediately because the story has no reason to let him go astray, therefore it won't stand in his way, trip him over, or slow him down with adventures, rainstorms, mountains, wolves, or anything else, the scenery is indistinct ahead of him, it is colourless, there is no village or building anywhere nearby, there is no grass, there are no trees, there is nothing that resembles countryside or sky, and the journey between Arthur's court and his far distant Green Chapel will not present him with any of the obstacles that confront Gawain when he rides out a year later to find this Knight again, because the camera-eye of the poet will be sitting on Gawain's shoulder, while the Knight has nothing now, he has left that eye behind at the lunch table, so with that he fades, and is no longer there.