Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It’s all about the narrative

Sometimes I end up with a phrase stuck in my head that seems to answer a question that I’ve been thinking about, puzzling over, vexing myself to try to figure out for a long time – years even. There’s an aha! That’s IT!

For a long time it was, “The one thing that trumps everything else is the need to feel special.” Maybe I’ll make another blog about that one some day.

But right now, I’m fixated on The Narrative. Or narratives. That is, the stories we tell ourselves. The ones that make sense out of whatever we’re experiencing or thinking. That have a beginning, middle, and end. A plot. That have prototypical characters. Stories that “come out.” As in, “how did it come out?” Did it have a happy ending? Did the good guys win? Or was it one of those bleak ones, where you can’t win, and the point of the story is to make clear that you can’t?

The essential part is that the story makes sense. It’s logical.

And of course, it’s almost always wrong.

As my sister Fredda said, “Well, if it’s about people, and it makes sense, it’s guaranteed to be wrong. People don’t make sense.”

What she said.

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