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Party Surveyor

Got through a party scene in the book-in-progress. This section took me a while.

I wanted to capture the "party survey." This is a technique for introverts like myself, which consists of carrying a drink around and eavesdropping on conversations as you make your way through a crowd. If the party is large enough, and you maintain a purposeful expression and keep moving, everyone assumes that you actually have a specific destination in mind. Quite a few times I have used the "party survey" technique to show up, finish a couple drinks, and leave without talking to anyone.

The astute party surveyor can harvest a pastiche of separate conversations that adds up to much more than the sum of its parts. In some ways the experience can be like randomly changing channels on a tv, drawing cards from a tarot deck, or attempting to assemble a message from the words on the board at the end of a Scrabble game.

One of the reasons I procrastinated a bit with this sequence (above pages are out of order) is the number of figures. There are about 92 characters in these 4 pages, which is probably the most dense section in the book so far. Most of the figures are partial, some are tiny, but there was something a little intimidating about the quantity. Even though I am not a huge partier, I think party scenes can be really great in movies and books. They can be a soup of human motives and theatrics.

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