Monday, July 23, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Conviction, or Octopus Prime

The experiment continues.

I still don't like the idea of train of thought for a fiction writer. Instead, I am playing with rough structures of form, like and artist's sketch. That is why these efforts are an experiment!

Transformers came out. The movie, not the toys, which have been out forever. Jason, almost four, is YouTube's newest convert.
"Can we watch Transformers again?" he'll say, his eyes gleaming.
"Yes, which one, or all of them?" i ask. Does he understand that the bootlegged previews aren't the movie itself? Of course. But when your attention span doesn't last long enough for a two and a half hour movie what difference do categories make?
"80 miles per hour," I tell my dad. "That is how fast they transform from vehicle to robot." Is it to robot? I haven't seen the movie. Like Jason i have kept my consumption limited to YouTube and the toys. The latter, i feel confident in saying, are taking over the house.
My dad rolls his eyes, careful not to say anything since Jason is in earshot.
"No, i shouldn't know that fact." I don't work in the entertainment industry. I am an adult. I have a graduate degree. 80 miles per hour is still impressive, don't you think?
My dad humors me and Jason both. He didn't humor me so much as a child. I would have heard that the movie was a waste of time. I don't agree. Fiction can be so much more important than fact. Facts change.
Jason is sitting in the middle of the rug. My bedroom is bright from the mid-day sun. His brown eyes are round and focused. Jason is a serious player.
"Jason, we need to go."
"No, play with me. Play Transformers." That means i transform them, he waits. Then i get to be the bad guys, he gets to be the good. Always. Why doesn't mom ever get to be the hero?
I will point out, however, that the bad guys and good guys share the same cardboard house and fill up on the same plastic ice cream. Jason does have a democratic heart.
"You get to be Octopus Prime," he says.
And i wonder what to do. I don't care if Optimus Prime is a bad guy or a good guy in the movie. I wonder instead about the fights he will have once he starts preschool camp next week. The other boys, the tougher ones who have older brothers, know that it is Optimus Prime not Octopus Prime. But will Jason believe me?
"Jason," i say gently, "It is Optimus Prime, not Octopus Prime." He laughs at me.
"You are silly," he says, the giggles unabated.
"No, really. It is Optimus Prime."
"You be the bad guys," he says. "Make this into a gun." He hands me a transformer to be transformed.
"Jason?" I say, wondering if i still have his attention. He ignores me, an indicator of the man he will become. No, that statement isn't an exaggeration. He always ignores me when he doesn't want to hear what i say. Occasionally, he will still argue, but mostly he just continues along his own path. Most of us do. We have learned to courteously reply oftentimes to advice or insights. Primarily, we ignore the message, even as we allow the messenger to deliver it.
I hand him the gun. "Like this?"
"Yes, thank you." Jason is very polite, even for a three year old wielding a gun. He doesn't shoot me, even though i am the bad guy. Instead, he feeds the gun a plastic strawberry.