Search This Blog

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Narrative

     Terry Pratchett observed more than once that world runs on stories. A lot of who we are as people depends on the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, and the stories we have been told by others. In the past, I have told myself I was a musician, a fencer, a pagan priest, and a number of other fictions. I shared those fictions with others, and they became part of my narrative.

      We hunger for stories. Stories give meaning to the world, whether ancient myth or modern one. They fire the imagination that is vital to us as a species, the imagination that has rebuilt the world with our tools. The imagination that looks at a cloud and says "that looks like a dog". The imagination that looks at the stars and asks: "why?"

     We Hunger for stories- We Hunger so much that we crave stories true and false about the people who star in our stories. we can walk through  a supermarket line and see little tantalizing slices or celebrity gossip, teasing us to buy. Facebook is filled to bursting with stories of dogs saved, returning soldiers, heroism and debauchery. And we digest it as we search for more. We are gluttons for stories
     There may come a day when we fly this earth and colonize new earths, under new suns. We have already been there in the stories in our minds, and the ones we read or watch. Stories can accomplish great things.

     Stories can accomplish terrible things, as well. I met a man today wearing the shirt of his chosen candidate for office. I complimented him, and he told me (after a fashion) why his candidate wasn't elected president in 2016. Yes, pause and check the date of my post. I'll wait.

     He seemed to be already creating the narrative for a loss next year. His candidate was too plain spoken, too authentic, and that scares people. He's too reasonable in a world where that doesn't matter. My thinking is that if you want your guy to win, convince people why he is the best choice, rather than giving them a reason to think there is no point in backing him.

     So the point of all this. Go out and write your story. Make it a good one. Remember that you are the protagonist of your own tale, and make sure it is a story you would want to read as much as live. And if your narrative isn't to your liking...change it.

“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

No comments:

Post a Comment