Thursday, November 29, 2007

narratives

My mother has a blog! (http://chuahguateng.blogspot.com) In her entry, On Eastern and Western Story Arcs, she responds to the notion that there are different story arcs in Eastern and Western narratives (way to go, mom).

This got me thinking about narratives as revealed by different records. For instance, if you read all the text messages you have saved to and from any one person, a certain story is told. But is the same story revealed when you look through the emails exchanged with that same person? Or letters, if there were letters? Extrapolating from this, I wondered what kind of narrative would emerge if I recorded as scientifically as I could, in chronological order, my visual memory of this person. After spending a large part of this afternoon doing this, my little green book ran out of pages before I could get to the end of my exercise. Thus, the story that got recorded read like a little tragedy due merely to the random fact that the little notebook I bought had only 100 pages instead of say, 120. Or that my handwriting today was not smaller.

Apparently, Jean-Paul Sartre, as a young man in Hamburg or somewhere, wandered into a pub and spent an evening chatting and drinking to a woman. At some point, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. In her absence, he imagined the evening unfolding towards the inevitable sexual encounter. He imagined the farewell the morning after, followed by the exchanges of letters that might come afterwards. Suddenly, he had an existential epiphany that life need not be made up of narratives such as he was imagining, but was in fact, just random moments strung together. He then got up and left and never saw this woman again.

(I told this story to David, who said, he was just chicken)

Are the stories real, people ask of [storm] or of my solo. They are all stories. Linda Putnam says we are paid to lie but in order to lie we must live as truthfully as possible.

I told Sébastien that I wanted to love him without a story. Is this possible? Or is the quest to find a lie that is closest to the truth, which is always formless and in motion?

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