What Have We Got, If We Can’t Tell a Story About It? Pt. II
Like walking through the fun house room of mirrors, the prism of storytelling reveals the angles and distortions of a certain truth all depending on the writer’s and consequently the reader’s perspective. So what are we trying to tell? What are we trying to glimpse through the distorted images if not a understanding of ourselves? In the broadest and most narrow sense, i.e. universal and personal truths.
A policeman knocked on my door last evening. Going to open the door, I saw through the peep hole that he was alone. ‘Hello yeh, it’s the police.’ I left the chain on. Through the crack he says ‘There’s been a report that the lady down in A has been missing. Have you seen her recently?’ I haven’t, so I say, ‘I’ve just moved in.’ I realize that makes it sound as though I’m alone, so I dig through my memory. ‘But my mom saw her several weeks ago, dragging a bag, a little rolly one.’ He thinks on this and taps the walkie-talkie at his shoulder. ‘How long ago would you say? Two weeks?’ I shake my head, ‘no longer. More like three.’ The walkie-talkie is cutting static and he nods his head. ‘Right, well thank you,’ he says as he heads down the stairs. I wonder if he is going from top to bottom, and I wonder if he is really even a policeman at all. Though, the lady in flat A does seem to be missing.
What Have We Got, If We Can't Tell a Story About It?
As I scramble my brain for viable plots, I feel it imbues me with the sense that everything should be a story. And even though the events in my everyday life are singularly uninteresting, when I am asked I will always find they (i.e. the everyday occurrences) take on the slant of the fantastical, otherwise, why tell the thing at all? And even more so because I am withdrawn into a silent world that borders on multiple personality disorder, so when there is a conversation where I am not in control of all the dialogue I emphasize and wait for reaction; and then, upon seeing the slightly taken aback stares, the doubtful brows, I retract and exclaim, ‘oh but everything is always a story to me!’ And here, this is a story, too.
There is a woman who lives above me who screams viciously at all hours of the day, slamming doors and draws, and trudging heavily to-and-fro. She most like suffers from paranoia and a life unfulfilled, and spends all her days pacing around the attic furious at the world. And that in itself is a story, but if I think of her, I see her birth in the year 1685 in a dark wood in a land still filled with superstition. She watches the borders of that land pass from bloody hand to bloody hand, and she learns the secret to living is dying. Years and years pass, and she no more knows how to live than to die. She travels places where nobody knows her face, because people in villages start to talk of the uncanny when you stay youthful and others die or disappear without cause. And all this time, it wears on her, the secret: no being able to live fully, not being able to die. So she slowly, slowly cracks under the burden and the madness of the world rushes in to fill the gaps.