Sunday, December 10, 2006

We each tell our own story

ORN: 32 minutes on a bike ride

I ran into a concept today I haven’t thought about in a long time; the
story. At its most basic level, any story has a protagonist, or main character, who seeks some greater goal. In so doing, he or she contends with the antagonist, the person or thing opposing progress towards the goal. If the protagonist succeeds, it is a comedy; if not, it is, in literary terms, a tragedy.

While this compresses and simplifies a lot of subtlety and variation (and I’m not an English major, nor do I play one on TV), it captures the nature of blogging. In starting a blog, each of us desires to tell a story in which we are the protagonist. What is unique about blogging is that one chooses which of life's antagonists frame the story. And so, it is no surprise that runners like to read other blogs about running; this fascination with piling on the miles represents the common antagonist. By learning how others grapple with this thing, we are amused, entertained, taught. When others tell a story that is merely boring, we tune out and find other story tellers.

We also choose how deeply we weave this story. Do we bring in plots and subplots? Do we describe the struggle with weight, which might be the real protagonist? Do we describe the stress of an unsatisfying job, the pain of which running dulls? Do we tell about the surprises along the way that complicate or simplify the tale? Or do we keep the story sterile, describing only distances and splits? We each choose.

Life is a story and each of us are interesting in our own right. One of the greatest gifts we give to another person is to listen to his/her story. To tell our own story usually helps each of us make sense our various antagonists.

Thanks for listening!!


David said...

I am listening. Keep talking.

backofpack said...

Wow, I love the concept! I think you are exactly right, but I'm not sure I ever would have thought of this on my own. Thanks for making me think.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's why I love teaching--telling the stories! And I have learned so much from others' stories on the blogs.

Anonymous said...

Awesome thought. I have learned so much from others. Also thanks for sharing yours.

Anonymous said...

Not counting my boring post today, I never would have imagined I had so much to say about running! Thanks for clarifying the concept of the story. Its so true! And I get so much out of reading the stories...I guess that's why I'm currently subscribed to 47 of them! : )

robtherunner said...

Well said Joe. People who do not blog ask me from time to time what's the draw. I like to read stories and this way I can read one page at a time from many different stories as well as interact with the authors. I think it's great. I'll be back for the next page, next time.