Something about “Denouement” Embarrasses Me
I’ve lived most of my life without a TV, and I’m kind of obnoxiously somewhere between righteous and hipster snooty about it. We didn’t own a TV set until the summer before I started sixth grade, and then it was a TV and a VCR so we could watch movies on Friday nights—we lived out in the sticks, so there wasn’t enough reception to get a picture or sound for anything else.
When I was in tenth grade, we moved “around the corner,” meaning, down a few twists and turns of the dirt road, at which point we could get fuzzy pictures that allowed us to watch the basic channels if you squinted, so we were able to watch Roseanne and I think maybe The Simpsons. There was TV at my grandparents’ in town, but once I was in high school, I didn’t watch much because I wasn’t over there as often. And then in college, my roommate had a TV that was constantly on (love you, Lynn!) our freshman and sophomore years, but you’d think by that point, I’d have had time to solidify my subconscious in a non-TV environment. And now I have only an Apple TV, which serves as a YouTube-karaoke system for kids and next in line in the VCR-DVD-Netflix progression so I can watch movies.
All in all, I’ve lived most of my life without a TV, is what I’m telling you. (There are many reasons why. Let’s leave that snooty hipster sermon for another day.)
How, then, I managed to unwittingly write all of “Denouement” without realizing it was so TV-inspired, is beyond me. Have you heard this before?
“This is the true story of seven strangers picked to live in a house and have their lives taped. Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.”
Oh, blargghh. “Denouement” is The Real World with dead people. I thought I was a rather mature adult. I thought I was above TV. I thought, as a matter of fact, that I was in touch enough with my writing and its traces of my subconscious to be fully aware of what I was writing as I wrote it, but I was several drafts into “Denouement,” like, past people I respected giving me solid feedback, before the similarity dawned on me. Turns out, not so much. Thank god I hadn’t added any of those testimonial things where the character talks directly to the camera…although, almost, because each one talks in his or her own voice, at times alone to give a backstory, and at times to show an interaction with the others. My god. It’s bad, really much of a muchness.
This says something about the power of what we ingest. I hate to acknowledge that, but it does. I may not have a mind like a steel trap, and my short-term conscious memory for details has gotten pretty dinged up from stress or age or cliché creative spaceyness or some combo thereof. But the subconscious is like the ocean; everything ends up in it. Unfortunately, no one knows how to clean either up.)
I’m sure you can think up a snooty hipster sermon all your own based on this information, so I’ll leave you to it. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to read some really deep stuff to fortify my subconscious for the next fractured story.