Dispatches | September 28, 2009

In our first meeting at TMR this semester, Speer Morgan, the editor here, had us read a couple stories. One of them was titled “Careful”, and it was by Ruth Hamel. We do these readings each week and Speer gets us to answer questions- what’s good about this writing and why. With Hamel’s story, which was very first one we read, Speer showed us suspense, and how incredibly important suspense is- where ever it is. (Note that it’s not always in the plot.)

I was sick for the past week and there wasn’t much to do besides: a) bemoan the large amount of work that continues to pile up, b) watch (for hours on end) Cash Cab, and c) think until complete boredom of thought (where I proceeded then to stare at the the ceiling or some desolate corner or a piece of clothing on the ground). In this era of thought I began to grow aware that suspense carries in to so many things. In so many good journalism stories, the article is designed by laying out 90 percent of the facts in the first two (or so) paragraphs, but withholding some information, making the interested reader wonder what the ending could possibly be.

I remember a music theory class and when thinking about it, even in music there is suspense: in very basic composition you don’t return to the beginning chord without playing a chord before that suspends (by which I am mean, needs resolution).

To philosophize- It’s safe to assume most people want to live long lives, and I want to ask, why is that? It may seem obvious, but answers like ‘To love’ or ‘because there is so much to enjoy’ isn’t necessarily true nor satisfactory, and beyond reasons similar to these it is hard to pin point an answer besides “people are afraid to die”, which in my mind seems too negative.

So perhaps it is the case, that suspense is what drives us to keep living, and maybe ‘the will to live’  can be rephrased as ‘the need to see what happens next’.

I like this idea. I think it gives me reason to consider that if I put myself out into situations, then anything can happen. It makes me feel that I never will be pigeon-holed if I try hard enough not to and has me believe that I don’t know necessarily any outcome before I actually see it.

I’ve noticed that people comment on our facebook page and voice their opinions when they read these articles, which is awesome. So my question this week, is what do you think? How important is suspense in relation to life?