Saturday, February 18, 2017

Writing the Same Story

Do you ever get the feeling that you're writing the same story, over and over again, like some kind of dystopian version of a Greek tragedy? You begin to wonder why you do it, whether other people notice. The self-awareness then becomes paralyzing for a while, and at last you try to write something new. Eventually you reach the point of some level of self-satisfaction for this new narrative and begin to imagine again that you might write many stories instead of the one.

Then you look back, and the story that seemed new while you were writing it is the same old story you've always written. What's strange about this moment in which you'd thought you'd escaped is coming back to the story again, as if for the first time. You begin to realize that each version of it is a revision of the one before, even if the characters or genre have changed.

Eventually you realize that the final perfect version might be a myth. You realize that no one really has more than one story to tell, and so you wear the knowledge of your single tale like you wear your human nature, with the humility of the finitely-dimensioned.

Eventually you find the story you've been trying to tell; you found it in the margins, in the revisions, the spaces where you worked but forgot to read.

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