Tips not rules

This one is going to meander a bit, lets start off by including a link to a post on a blog where I replied to a comment here. Now I think I replied to that comment probably because of a contentious mood brought on by too much drink. The commentators thoughts, as inferred, are so far removed from my reality, we might as well be using different languages on separate planets, so far as I can see the level of common ground we share.

You see it all the time though, rules being laid down, like the one that I saw recently stating, don’t use you in sentence when you can use the first person, oops. To be fair, that particular one isn’t a bad tip but ensconcing it in law betrays dependency, the kind of dependency that’s embodied by the use of a map, fine if you want to arrive at particular destination, not much use if you’re exploring. I don’t mean to denigrate formula, I love it in its proper context and even when treading new territory you need to impose some structure. But look what I just did there, mixing metaphors is the cardinal sin according to received wisdom, and imposing structure while treading new territory certainly qualifies as a transgression. I would say it’s justified because it’s nested imaginary, you impose structure on a journey by following a guide or map.

Rules are necessary when there is a definitive answer to a problem: what is two plus two, where is the closest supermarket but for tasks offering scope for personal expression they should be regarded as tips, guides towards facilitating success. So yeah, by all means follow the rules, just be aware that, if you don’t break any, you’re never going to be arriving anywhere interesting. There are risks though, of course there are, and those risks are proportional to the level of daring with you might choose to flout your rules but what’s life without a few risks?

The other thing to consider is, who makes the rules and what’s the impact on expectations when there is awareness of those rules. This leads to, received expectation, which are not exclusively the consequence of rule awareness but are a common hazard of that condition. Received expectations are a hazard because the effectiveness with which rules are promulgated is not consistent with their practical validity, one reason being, that the people who make rules are generally people who like to make rules, yeah that’s right, those people. So there is a certain circumspection called for when regarding rules, there’s no easy way to acquire that insight because it’s different for everyone. It’s dependant upon your personal aesthetic and inclinations, which means it’s something you acquire and modify through experience.

So why am I pondering rules? well I’ve just come up with one. while regarding a recent rewrite of the story I’ve mentioned in the previous posts. The story starts with a line, a line I stole by the way: ‘Everyone’s there who’s not in love’. It’s a beautiful term of expression but it’s literal nonsense, so after the latest rejection notice, I spent the whole of the first paragraph explaining it, what an idiot. I can’t believe I did that, so the rule I’ve formulated is…

Never explain a line.

Of course it’s not really a rule, merely a tip.

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~ by deadspidereye on May 6, 2015.

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