“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.”
– Jean Luc Godard, film director, screen writer, film critic
I think one of the reasons we long for narrative is our desire to make sense of the world around us.
Ironically, I scheduled a post with this quote before 2020 went into the current series of tough events: pandemic, murder hornets, locusts, unemployment, the murder of George Floyd, protests and marches, the Space X launch, UFOs, and huge comets coming close to the Earth. I almost just deleted it, and then I decided to reflect on it again.
I believe writing can help us find a narrative "through" line in the circumstances of our lives, whether we seek the narrative through line in fiction or non-fiction.
However, there are times when we just are on the roller coaster of life, clutching at our notebooks and our sanity and we aren't really sure what words to jot down.
How do we find the narrative "through" line, the "form" for this year?
One day at a time. One word at a time.
In my journal, I have vent-filled accounts - entries in which I just vent all my emotional stuff. I can't say I've found the narrative through line for the whole year, but as I come to the end of those entries I start seeing a pattern to each of them. I start seeking the form for that moment, and I often find it.
I can't control the circumstances of 2020. I can't make decisions for how other people handle everything going on.
I can handle my own stuff. I can pray. I can write. I can seek out beauty. I can walk.
It feels like a "clinging to the end of the rope" kind of form, but that's okay.
It's a cliff-hanger year.
Maybe in 2021, I'll be able to write something meaningful about life during 2020.
For now, my writing has been short, speculative, but sometimes contemporary issue based, and sometimes just silly. It depends on the day.
And my journal? I may burn the thing after this year, but I need to vent the garbage out somewhere, and not on my family's heads.
Are you finding a narrative through line for 2020?
Have you found a form to deal with the complexity of it all?