Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Greater Narrative

When I was working on my funeral project a couple of weeks ago, I made repeated reference to a greater narrative, in which the narrative of my life was a small part. I think there is a lot of depth to the idea of viewing life as a narrative instead of a series of related or interlocking experiences. Series of experiences gives such a linear view of life, whereas narratives often have themes and experiences that are revisited and reflected upon. It's the acts of revisiting and reflecting that give significance to our experiences, and in some sense complete them. So perhaps life is a spiral moving up and down. It's cyclical through revisiting and reflecting, and linear in both directions: upwards as our stories develop, and downward as we find greater depth and meaning in our own stories. I think the implications of this view of life are enormous, especially in our VERY linear-thinking culture.

Starting tomorrow I'm doing a week long study of origin of the greater narrative(s) in Toronto. I'm interested to see how this study influences the way I view my narrative.

In a just over a week I'll hopefully start working on some narratives that have been kicking around in my head for the past 5 years. School is just about done, so the time to write is now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

...sat on a park bench like bookends...

I'm moving back to Brantford at the end of the month, just for the summer. I can't tell you how much this excites me. I'll still have some school left to finish in May and June, so I'll be in Hamilton quite a lot still, but the thought of returning home is really exciting! And it's all because of relationships.

First, there is the relationship between myself and art. I've spent the last five at Mac drawing influences and inspiration from my classes, but very little creation has taken place (beyond a few short stories and short films). Now is the time to put my education to work. I think I view the last five years as preparation for my writing (many classes were spent daydreaming about the perfect story, the perfect soundtrack, the perfectly framed shot). So now I begin writing, and there is no better place to do so than back home in Brantford. I feel like there's a lot of unresolved elements in Brantford that I'll be returning to, and as difficult as it may be, I need to go back into these old haunts in order to be faithful to the some of the stories I want/need to write.

A return to my old art.

Secondly, and more importantly, is the relationship between myself and Brantford friends. I think a distance has developed in many of my relationships with people back home, and I'm not content to leave it that way. Sure, as people develop into different paths, journeys, and stories, sometimes we inevitably become distanced. But this is not because I do not value those friendships. It is just the way the story has developed thus far. I'm more Art Garfunkel than I am Paul Simon.

A return to my old friends.

As F. Scott so eloquently put it,
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

It is time for my Gatsby.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Wonder Years

Today, I was reminded of a website my good friend Jared Korstanje made a few years ago (his technical prowess is... astounding). If you look closely, you'll find some rather embarrassing pictures of me experimenting with facial hair back when it first started growing, and trying to pretend I was a part of Team Zissou.

Why is the website dedicated to Winnie Cooper and The Wonder Years, you might ask?
Because my first girlfriend in high school looked like Winnie Cooper. She never really saw it that way (in fact, the mere insinuation of a likeness brought forth a blinding rage which was hard to subside), but it was true. I thought/still think it was a compliment. For years it was a running/inside joke amongst friends, but I had forgotten all about it until today. There's nothing like a good, hearty laugh to make your day, and I had a big one.

It is with thoughts of high school memories that I end this post with quite possibly the greatest closing lines to a TV show - and a line which pretty much sums up my view of the past:

Things never turn out exactly the way you planned. I know they didn't with me. Still, like my father used to say, 'Traffic's traffic, you go where life takes you, and growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next you're gone, but the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a time a place, a particular fourth of July, the things that happened in that decade of war and change. I remember a house like a lot of houses, a yard like a lot of yards, on a street like a lot of other streets. I remember how hard it was growing up among people and places I loved. Most of all, I remember how hard it was to leave. And the thing is, after all these years I still look back in wonder. -Kevin Arnold