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!!