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Thursday, February 11, 2010

You, pouting

You read another short story in second person and you think, "is this really the latest thing? Because it's annoying the hell out of me." More than that it's making the skin on your back feel all itchy. Go ahead, you can scratch. Good.

You put down the book for a moment to think about why second person in the present tense bothering you.

It's not the action so much--no, you don't mind the fact that you're told you're facing thrills-a-minute in these stories. What annoys you is when someone tells you what you're thinking and feeling. Sure, you know it's just a story. But you remember those marketing classes you took in college and how that professor talked about the power of putting "you" in a document. Use "you" sparingly. Because that word says that someone is looking at you, asking for you for a response.

And now with all this fiction? More than looking at your actions, which was bad enough, now they're telling you--not asking, telling--what you feel. They're putting thoughts in your freaking head and you have no idea what they want from you. Not really.

It's a mythical you, you tell yourself. Not really the face you see in the mirror every day. (Except, to be truthful, you avoid mirrors) Get over yourself, you tell yourself. This is no big deal. But still you find yourself putting down the magazine, clicking away from the site, closing the book of short stories.

For a while it was the affectation that annoyed you. Now it's the uncomfortable feeling that you really are as easily manipulated as those authors think you are. You do abandon yourself to the action and now you aren't in control unless you close that document. It's a matter of self preservation and you know it.

Your back is itchy again. Go ahead and scratch. We don't mind.

1 comment:

  1. 2nd person is the new present tense, you see.

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