Thursday, 6 February 2014

How perfect can a stranger be?

I was writing the other day, and typed the term, ‘perfect stranger’. In my mind I was describing someone who was a complete ‘unknown’. Never been seen before. But then the cogs began to turn, and I started wondering if a stranger could be even more perfect than someone you had never met before.

How about something along these lines? A person you’ve had an intimate, trusting, long-standing relationship with, reveals that they are not the person you thought you knew. Unrecognisable behaviour, an announcement that flies in the face of all previously held principles, an unforeseen capacity for courage, an unexpected betrayal, a surprising feat of endurance, a hidden nous for enterprise, a selfless undertaking, the ultimate sacrifice.

Isn’t it possible that the most perfect stranger might be someone whose sharp and shocking form suddenly emerges like an abstract sculpture from what we’ve come to regard as customary. 

Perhaps, more often than we think, the greatest ‘unknown’ in a person resides beneath the layers of familiarity we pile on, in an effort to forge a shape we can love or live with.

This is precisely the kind of distraction I’m up against, when writing. Anyone else?

8 comments:

  1. (My comment seems to have disappeared into thin ether -apologies if this is a repeat.) I think what you are doing here isn't a distraction, it's writing! Because - as I used to tell my students - writing is thinking. You have the kernel of at least one interesting story right here. An idea waiting to be expressed through writing.

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    1. Sometimes it seems as though a line of thought is deliberately leading me astray. But I think you're right, ideas and the expression of ideas are often inextricably linked.

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  2. The perfect stranger you describe would be a perfect character in a novel.

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    1. I know that perfect character is there, Vicki, and I hope we don't remain strangers for too long.

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  3. I have a short story to relate about a "perfect stranger". Last week while working in the library I met a newcomer to our town. In chatting with her I rather spontaneously invited her and her husband to our home for dinner.
    Over dinner we discovered we had actually gone to the same high school in our Senior year. We never knew each other as she was brand new to the school and we were not in any class together. How's that for a perfect stranger? Or a small world?

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    1. Definitely a perfect stranger in a small world, Karen.

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  4. Bwhahahaha I'm with you there Martin - trying to write and everything else is more interesting at the moment :) sometimes writing is just hard work

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  5. I have now come to the conclusions that it is the distractions that are creativity rather than the creativity that gives rise to them. Rather like discovering the perfect stranger in a close friend.

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