"That was a long time ago.

I’ve changed. I am not the same person you knew," she said.

"I don’t believe that. People don’t change; they just become more like themselves. I know you. I believe you are still the same person," he said.

"I am not. I have done ... I do things you would not approve of," she said.

"Do you do them because they are right?" he asked.


"Do you do them because they are good?" he asked.

She lowered her eyes, "No."

"Do you do them because you are hurt, angry, upset and frustrated? Lashing out at an unfair universe?"

Her eyes moved to look into his. Searching him, probing the years, his convictions. They no longer shone with the brilliance of youth. There were wrinkles around them and gray in his eyebrows. He was older. She was too. Everyone was. The idealism and hope and optimism of youth a long and distant memory. As she searched, the years between them seemed, for an instant, to vanish and she was back in a happier and more innocent time and place; a place where hopes and dreams of the future abounded.

He continued, "You did not act. You reacted."

He took her hand and drew it toward him, "If I prick you, if I pinch you, will you not react? Will you not pull your hand away from mine, through no volition of your own?"

She smiled a sad smile, the smile you give a child who innocently persists in hoping against hope. "Life changes us."

"No, we get confused. Deceived. We hurt for so long that we confuse our reactions for actions. Some can confront their pain longer or better than others, but keep the pain up long enough, increase its intensity or severity and we all stop acting and begin reacting."

Writing fragment #137 (actually, no, I don't number or track my fragments).

[Update on 06-November-2007 @ 22:14 to fix a typo.]


Hmmm..interesting..and very good writing, Richard.
Is this part of a book you might want to put together sometime? Is it somewhat autobiographical or completely fictional?
Authors of full length books amaze me..all I can do is short short stories and poems.
KayMac said…
you write very powerfully.
Richard said…
MOI: thanks. No, it is not autobiographical and no, it is not part of any larger story. It is just a fragment. It is just a conversation I imagined based after hearing the opening line somewhere. The man does argue from my point of view, though.

You are lucky to be able to write complete things.

kaymac: thank you.
b said…
This is yours?! It is beautiful, Richard. It touches upon such a universal theme of life and with such lovely prose and dialogue. When I started reading it, I was excited to see what novel you were quoting, but midway through, I excitedly hoped that it was yours!

Considering the context of this fragment, do you believe that we truly do not change but that we do become more like ourselves? And if so, how do those reactions (as a result of pain, decpetion, etc.) factor into such? If those reactions are caused by our experiences, how does that get at our true self?
Richard said…
breal: yes, I believe we become more like ourselves. We may distort because of pain. See this post.

I only need to flesh it out with another 100,000 words or so and I have my novel.

Thanks for the praise, I'll make sure to sign you up as my spokesperson when I finally do write something.
b said…
I think we do become more like ourselves but am only speaking from my own experience and observations. I also recognzie however that many people deny their true selves to a great extent and that distorts them considerably, to where they may not recognize that true self, even if they are acting that true self out.

But that implies that we truly do become more like our true selves but perhaps it comes down to varying levels of consciousness and acceptance of that true self.
Richard said…
breal: a friend of mine believed that people did not become truly sentient until sometime in their 20s. She said that prior to that they might have been happy, but were not truly sentient and aware.

I also think that a lot of what we might consider pretense, is really just he true character of people. The might be narcisstic or victims or whatever. Sometimes, when people define themselves (e.g. I am very outgoing, or, I am open minded) what they are really expressing is what they wish they were, rather than what they are.
carra said…
I am in awe. This is your writing! Wow that conversation is absolutely brilliant, it there anymore of that story? I need more. I think the concept is so psychologically correct, that it amazes me... God I wish I could write something that good...
Richard said…
carra: sorry, but this is all I have for this.

I am pretty bad when it comes to writing. I am much more a dreamer than a writer. This is a reason I find it so inspiring that you do actually write.

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