Monday, July 8, 2013

In the labyrinth

Yesterday on the radio on Selected Shorts I heard part of "Ziggurat" by Stephen O'Connor.  In the story, the minotaur and the new girl go round and round in the labyrinth, but there is no way out.  It struck me that the story is what my life is like.

Afterwards, there was a brief interview with the author, and that's what the author said too.  He said the story is about how now matter how we try, we can't escape our situation, or who we are.

When the story starts, the new girl is playing a computer game.  Later when the minotaur asks her about the game, she says, “Basically, they’re all disappointment games. Except this one. This one’s about ambition. You’re supposed to build the Tower of Babel before God knocks it down. But that usually ends up being a disappointment game, too.”

What the minotaur does is he encounters people and eats them.  He encounters them going about their lives, but it doesn't  matter what they are doing, because he eats them anyhow.  "None of the things they yearned for would come to pass. All their beliefs about destiny and justice, all their rituals, injunctions, inhibitions and plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face truths: trash, irrelevant, wrong. Their gooses were cooked—royally—and always had been."

Then today I was listening TED Radio Hour, and the story was "How Do You Get People to Pay For Music."  Amanda Palmer was a street musician.  The way it worked is she played music, and trusted that people would give her money.  So when she became a star, it seemed natural to her to do it the same way.  She lets people download her music for free, but she asks them to donate money.  When she travels to give concerts, she asks people if she and her band can stay at their house. She love connecting with her audience.  She says it's about trusting that people will be there for her.

I don't trust.  I guess that's why people aren't there for me.  My experience is that humans either turn their back on me, or else they tell me how they think I ought to live, what I ought to do.

Amanda Palmer lives outside the labyrinth. She lives in a world I'd like to live in.  But I can't get out of the labyrinth.

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