If everything is story (and I believe it is), how do we make sense of the thousands of narratives we encounter?
When my hairstylist tells me about a teacher she knows whose son was killed in a school shooting, that’s a story. But what does it mean?
How I explain stories to myself reveals a lot about me. What you do with the stories in your world says something about you, too.
Are we all living in a giant, super-complex novel with thousands of tiny subplots? Are all the little stories part of one grand narrative? Or are they disconnected snippets that lead to nowhere?
If they’re connected, then someone, somewhere, is the Novelist, and we are mere characters. Which means, of course, that while our lives feel extremely important to us, they can’t be the Ultimate Meaning of the Universe. They are part of a bigger story.
Furthermore, if there is a Novelist writing our lives, we characters won’t understand or accept everything that goes down in our worlds because we aren’t as in charge as we’d like to believe. Which sounds positively unAmerican, I know.
Of course, if our stories are disconnected and random, they only have the meaning we assign to them–nothing more.
What say you?
Do you chafe at the idea that Someone might be writing your story? Your neighbor’s story? If there is a Novelist, are we characters responsible for what we do? Are we to blame when we do bad things?
Do you blame characters in the books you read?