Thursday, March 24, 2011

Borges Week 2 Prompt One

I wish to create a brilliant fictional writer, to bring a being to life from my imagination who can spawn characters and stories from scratch in the same manner from which I have envisioned him. So with this wish in mind, I created a boy. This boy was exceptionally bright, and in his youth he excelled in his studies. However, despite his academic achievement, he could not break past the conventional, normative mode of fictional literature. My hopes remained strong, but they were not fulfilled as he continued to grow older. After a few years of watching him try but fail to advance in his literary pursuits, I decided that I needed a mulligan, another bite at the apple.

In order to ensure that the next apparition that sprang from my imagination would set the world ablaze with the fictional word, I decided it would be necessary to handicap him in a way that would further his creativity. After pondering the various ailments I could potentially burden him with, I decided to deprive him of the majority of his working eyesight. It was my belief that this would be addition by subtraction, his mind would be a near blank slate, and he would only get clues from the outside world, his imagination would have to compensate for the images his eyes failed to deliver. I named this boy Jorge Luis Borges, and set him loose upon the world.

Early in little Jorge's youth, it became apparent that my imagination had struck gold, that this boy would fulfill my dreams and more. When his "mother", took him to the zoo, he would stand, transfixed in front of the tigers for hours upon hours. He was determined to maintain his gaze, for when his "mother" tried to pry him away, he would wail and throw fits, until she eventually succumbed to his iron will, as the tiger's presence provided him with the imaginary nourishment he needed to achieve his mandated purpose. Eventually these zoo related events would become immortalized in his work, "Dreamtigers", where he recounts his boyhood exploits. I watched with pleasure, as these experiences would surely push him to new heights as an author.

As Jorge grew into a mature author, he began to explore the gap between reality and fantasy with vigor. Most notably, he confronted this very subject dead on in "The Circular Ruins". I marveled at the way his imagination grasped a scenario with circumstances nearly identical to his own supernatural inception. He tells the story about an educator who travels to an abandoned jungle, where he finds an ancient circular structure, falls into a deep meditation and tries to choose a student to teach perfectly. His original choice fails to live up to his expectation, so the man, like me, starts fresh. He imagines a new figure, a red apparition that meets all of the man's goals and more. However, the fire demands that the man's "son" be sent to the ruins. The man complies, and begins to get his son prepared to live in a different sort of reality. When he ultimately bids farewell to his creation, the man comes to the realization that he himself might not even be real, that he might be the creation of another being's imagination. At this moment I watched Jorge come full circle, as his character accepts the fate that he himself occupies. I have created him from my own imagination, with the purpose that he exists to author spectacular works of fiction, in a manner that is unique to the field. And now he has fulfilled that, by writing "The Circular Ruins", a brilliant, multi-layered story that achieves goals in four pages that ordinary authors cannot reach in hundreds. Also, Jorge, at least indirectly, comes to terms with his own creation, as "the man" looks up to see him, he, with his almost non-existent vision, vaguely sees a slight out line of me, smiling with achievement.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the "mulligan" line in the first paragraph, although I wondered if some of the material up to this point should have been lengthened.

    Thereafter, I found much of the story clever, but I badly wanted it to be developed in more surprising directions. Your understanding of a limited set of stories thoroughly discussed in class was clear; your discussion of Borges' eyesight was interesting; but what was really missing was anything that broadened your vision of Borges a little.

    I would have liked to see you apply some of this material, for instance, to the opening short story from "The Maker" (the one about Homer - I think it's the opening one, anyway). Vision, and the lack of it, is so important in so many of these stories - I wanted to see you expand your horizons a little.

    Not that any of your moves here were bad, or anything - it's just that nothing was unexpected, and in fiction, more than in essays, you usually (as opposed to occasionally) want to see the unexpected at work.