December 31 Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Author: Molly O'Neil)
This prompt, once again, leaves me feeling a little cold. I don't have one central story at the core of me. I am not a fiction. I am not a narrative. I am not one 200 page tale, crafted for public consumption. I am me. I do not have characters and plot twists. I am not an actor or a heroine or a set of traits and motivations used to move along a story. I am myself. I live my own life. I make my own choices. I have a group of devoted and loving friends and family. This is real. This isn't a story. When I fail, there is no omniscient unseen narrator to explain what happened and what comes next.
I'm sure the author of this prompt didn't intend me to take it this way. I'm sure she meant it as a way to summarize how I present myself and my life to the world, and what is important to me. But that seems too easy and pat and contrived. And life isn't easy or pat or contrived. I am not a marketing tool. This blog isn't a marketing tool. I'm not selling anything or myself. And I don't have one driving central story at my core. There is no narrative arc to my life. Thank God. I don't want this adventure to be over in 500 pages. I want more than that. I hope you do too.
I think the tendency to view our lives like a movie, story or a play is almost second nature to most of us. I know it is to me. But I think that can degrade and reduce what our lives really are, by trying to fit it into some kind of formula. Some unsatisfying and unrealistic happily ever after. I know we communicate in stories. We all do. It takes seconds for an event to occur and to turn it into a story, share it, post it, tweet it, deconstruct it, so quickly that I sometimes wonder if what actually happened was as good as the story version. And though I consider myself a writer, I don't believe that there is a central story to my life. Maybe when I've lived longer than thirty five years I'll be able to view it that way, but right now I just want each day to happen and be filled with the people I love, a delicious meal, more laughter than a person could expect, fuzzy socks, big dreams and someone's hand to hold. I want each day to have a story, so that each day adds and changes and deepens my relationships with my friends and family, new and old, my relationship with myself and my involvement in the world at large. I want more than a central story, I want a life so big and lush and spectacular, a volume of encyclopedias couldn't contain it. I wish that for you too. Happy New Year.