Sunday, March 01, 2009

Traps

I'm in a writing trap. Or rather I'm in a trap that affects my writing. But I'm not trapped. There's a difference between being trapped, and a trap, of course. Being trapped, implies something psychological, or something malicious that has happened to you. A "trap" though, is no such thing, its something that has a beauty to it, in some ways, a trap is set, it waits there, it has purpose, and, if it's sprung, then there's a sense - from the setter of the trap - of a job well done. And a trap might be beneficial to the victim, you set a trap for an animal that shouldn't be in your house, in order to re-house it, for instance. Anyone who has ever tried to set a physical trap, also knows that the trap mechanism isn't the key - no, it's the bait, it what leads you in. My trap is of that variety, I think. I'm being lead in, by a breadcrumb trail, and then snap, down comes the door, and I wonder how I got in there - and, whether there's a way out. That's how traps work of course, they're not inevitable, they are placed in the way of things, and if you fall into them, sometimes its because of a good reason, because you were too tired, or hadn't been looking where you were going.

I'm not sure I'm being clear, but I'm like a mouse exploring a house, much of my time is spent aimlessly, trying to find my way around - surviving if you like - but mice are curious. They know that others are in the house, and that, if they come into contact with them, then maybe it won't be so good for them. The mouse knows he's not meant to be here, but can't help himself. If you like, I'm looking for the breadcrumb trail, I'm looking for the trap. For a story can be a trap, as can a style. I'm in a trap, even if I'm not yet caught, because the traps are all around. I've sniffed out another breadcrumb trail today - the poetry one - and its as sure as any other going to trap me again. I never learn. Leave the poetry alone! I want to say. Leave the cheese alone! little mouse.

Snap goes the door. And I'm not sure how I get out this time either.

4 comments:

Why Not Burn Books? said...

Hi...
I really like your description of story and style as 'traps' which can be 'beneficial to the victim'. I'm currently attempting some experiments in 'constrained' writing (lipograms, acrostics, etc, like the Oulipo writers)and your image of literary form as a kind of paradoxical trap - an entrapment which is in some sense harmless and beautiful - seems to dovetail very neatly with what I'm learning through these exercises. It's such a rich and thought-provoking idea. Thankyou!

Bournemouth Runner said...

And thank you!

Manc in France said...

Your fiction as trap image is a rich and powerful one - makes me think of trap-door. In reading and writing, you let yourself down into another space, a world beneath the surface. Trap-doors that go up too [I seem to remember a picture in Jack and the Beanstork - Jack opening a trapdoor into the Giant's world above] Alice goes down into a kind of trap-door hole in the ground and in The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski I think there's a door into the labyrinth beneath. You can lose yourself in fiction though - maybe this is partly why it's a trap. You can stay too long in the skyworld, in the underworld of your own imagination. Forget you need to bring back the golden eggs - the story for others to read.

Bournemouth Runner said...

I clearly need to think a bit more about this - there's something to be explored. Thanks!