How do you write a story when the world is being murdered?

 

 

BxPe7oOIgAAH5QvHow do you write a story when the world is being murdered? If reality was a narrative what lessons could we pick up from the narrative arc? There really does seem to be a building up of dramatic tension as the systems that dominate the world increasingly undermine everything that they are premised on. Maybe we are in a story. But it seems to be a story in which we all feel helpless to change the rules of the game precisely when changing the rules is the only thing that can save us. Maybe there are plucky bands of young adults right now trying to figure out what it means to take responsibility even if it’s not your fault because that’s what you have to do to beat the bad guys, or in this case survive. Rome wasn’t built in a day. People don’t create masterpieces on canvass or in literature over night. It is the consistent expression of a life over time.

In many stories the protagonist is given an undeniable call to action. “You’re a wizard, Harry.” Is that what people are waiting for? How convenient a storytelling pattern and how unhelpful a model for the most crucial transitions of our lives. Do we need to be personally called upon to save the world? What if no one asks us? Are we going to just watch it die in slow motion? Is this another, more intricate, dimension of dramatic tension? Who will hear the call to action? Who will choose, without being personally asked, to make a primary if not daily habit of expressing their life through what some are trying to call “The Revolution”? Change seems impossible and then tipping points are reached and everything is different. I don’t think there is a more moral use of my time than working toward this tipping point in some small way every day.

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