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How To Write An Adventure Story.

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  1. You are working towards a definition of ‘adventure’ as some kind of ‘critical unit’ — in the second person, no less — as something one-step beyond the ‘lightness’ Calvino characterized in his Six Memos For The Next Millennium.
  2. As Hervé Gardette said during an episode of “Du Grain à moudre” on France Culture, “The adventure of today is not the same of yesterday.” If you are climbing Mount Everest, if you are circumnavigating the globe, you have to align yourself with “the demands of simultaneity” — that is, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other form one can think of — but if one aligns one’s self with “the demands of simultaneity,” then to what degree is “the narrative form taking precedence over the substance of the project?”
  3. To ask for and pursue an adventure, then — that is to say, ‘a transcending of the limits’ in a world that never offers up limits, but one that is, in fact, always with you and always present is to understand that one frontier of an otherwise traditional ‘adventure’ has now been reduced to a cocoon, a carapace of compellingly constructed humanity. When we knock the carefully curated world of an Instagram feed, this is what we’re knocking.
  4. Biographical diversion: I am wandering through Colonial Williamsburg in the beginning of spring wondering about someone adventuring through the invention of America. I am imagining Revolutionary Era detectives. I am imagining time flattening out and allowing for more than one person from more than one era to occupy a bench beneath some Japanese Cherry Blossoms and by a running brook.
  5. But to seek to seek an adventure in the current political and technological moment as a place of narrative refuge reminds us not only the power of silence and avoidance, but of the democratic power buried in magical realism as well — of a shape-shifting, talking dog; of Ireland suddenly becoming something worthy of The Odyssey itself; of the fact that “no man is an island” — but every man, woman, and child being capable of adventure, too.

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