We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
Or at least we do for a while."
Joan Didion, The White Album
I just reread this essay, and I think it’s an important one for writers to read—not to be better writers, I think, but to be better humans outside of our writing. I definitely fall victim to the need to narrativize things that happen in my life, to want to say x happened because of y because of z. And yes, life is a series of chains reactions, of “fate” or whatever you want to call it splitting off like branches on a tree because of the decisions we make. But it doesn’t all have to make sense; it doesn’t have to tie up neatly. If there’s a gun on the mantle in the proverbial first act of my life, it doesn’t have to go off in the third.
I’m having a hard time believing this right now, granted how certain negative past actions of mine are resurfacing in what seems like a karmic rage, but we need to remember that life is fucking random. Dwelling on the past events that lead to our current situation is, a lot of the time, useless. I know it sounds trite at this point, but if life is a non-narrative, there’s only moving forward.(via yeahwriters)