Friday, August 6, 2010

Vaughn, John, Yawn

I’m very much drawn to writing narratives where characters names are similar. Almost everything I write has at least two characters with quasi-identical names.
Why am I drawn to this? I don't think I always do it consciously; often it isn't even a name that I particularly like; often the characters emerge at different times, and it surprises me they've ended up in the same story, and that they're so firmly attached to keeping their names despite the possible confusion.
What is it to give multiple characters same/similar names? Does it flatten them out? Or does this create a layering: contradictions, conflicts and similarities becoming parts of one multi-bodied, similar-named, fuzzily defined individual?
These questions are, for me, magical ones. They're questions about reading, crafting texts, about hiding meaning in random connections, like a god might, if it wanted us to look for signs, clues, some secret message.
I'm looking out the window, watching people walk by, wondering if this kind of meaningfulness is the one experienced in some psychological disorders. A hurried girl holding a bright yellow handbag waits at the cross-walk, an old woman approaches wearing a bright yellow sweater; its the same atrocious shade of yellow. On the other side of the street, a few meters away, a bright yellow car is parked. Yellow is a complex symphony, layered, the light goes yellow, the cars speed up, and, I can't help but want to believe in beauty. In the magical ability of coincidence, to give me the desire for meaning (or speculations about meaning).

*Following a similar tangent, and to explain the significance of the drawing, one of Ashphalt's first names was "never the same name twice"--very energy consuming, as far as names go. We try to stay true to it, and hardly ever call him Ashphalt.

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