The Ever-Changing River


Reading (that is, “reading”) “Twelve Blue” was frustrating. This is true for a couple reasons. First, it was frustrating because snippets of story picked up at some unknown place in the middle aren’t particularly arresting unless they really are, so trying to understand what was happening in a particular passage was unsatisfying. Then it was frustrating because, as the characters began to recur and develop, I really wanted to know what on Earth was going on with them, and the disjointed format, which seems like its the whole point of this piece, would not allow for me to understand the story as a linear narrative.

So I began to think, “I get it.” Twelve blue oceans, right? Where all the worlds rivers drain. Rivers, which are old constants, yet in constant flux. They say you can never set foot in the same river twice. Meaning that while it might just be that old creek to you, the water that runs through it is constantly refreshing itself, like the ticketmaster site the morning Beyonce tickets go on sale.

Twelve Blue says that a river, as placid and still as it may seem, is made of a million billion different parts and they’re all changing all the time. The light in the late afternoon that reflects off each ripple, pastels of yellow and pink, and somehow a deeper blue than the water itself. Each fragment is unique, and each is part of this great river. And like a river, which seems like a simple line but is very much not, a story is made of a million disparate parts, each important on its own. And to place a tale in order chronologically seems almost disingenuous, because that is the fallacy of the flow of the river. It doesn’t go north to south or left to right, it goes all over the place all the time. And so this story, like any human life, is a collection of moments and reflections, and they are ordered however they are ordered, presented to the “reader” like memories, pulled to the forefront of the mind by an imperceptible thread tied to the last thought that went by. To try and go back and synthesize the flow is in vain, as the structure of the river is mimicked by the structure of the lines in the left margin of the page; You can stick you foot in the same place in the river you had it a moment ago, but you will not have the same result, not exactly.

In trying to dissect Twelve Blue, as I realize this is more of what our assignment asked for, I clicked random spots on the left for a while, and then when I got tired of the randomness that I was getting I tried to click the hyperlinks on each page, when they were available. Then I got curious, so I tried to start over by clicking one of the lines on the left, and that’s when I realized that they too were constantly changing, and rather than trying to sort out a pattern, I just tried to piece together the narrative as best I could in the order it was given to me.


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