Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 4 - Two paragraphs on the narrative of life

Reading a lot of non-fiction today - about mothers grieving after tragic accidents, about the baby who fell down the well, about serial killer truck drivers - and it got me thinking about the narrative structure of life.  It strikes me that life is never lived in anything close to a traditional narrative form.  After the fact, people change things around to fit the story we want to tell ourselves, or the story we can live with.

The very act of reporting a story changes the narrative in important ways.  Asking people to recall memories of events - especially the emotionally charged ones that make for good reading - forces people into descriptions that would have gone otherwise unsubscribed.  Language will always fail expressing the bundle of feelings that shoot across our brains as an event unfolds and, at best, we get a vague approximation of the event that occurred. 

It is a wonder that we successfully communicate anything of substance to other human beings.

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