swallowed up by the sea

I think often about story and narrative.

More recently, my story and my narrative.

I was having coffee with my buddy Kyle a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about writing and story and art.

We are each others biggest fans, I think. He’s an illustrator/artist who gets his stuff published weekly in the Sunday New York Times magazine and I well, have a sort of successful blog. At least my mom thinks so.

I love hearing about his creative process. His self-deprication is hilarious, and he’s always so humble about his success. (You can find more of his stuff here.)

Anyways, we were discussing my move this past year, how messy it all has been and how things happen so fast. He told me I had a way of seeing life as narrative. I suppose he is right, I had just never heard it out loud.

I’m not going to get into the parts of the story. It’s been a while since I’ve had high school English, but it has parts, okay? Things like  exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Lord knows resolution is sort of vague. But I suppose writing has always been in the back of my mind. For those of you who follow this blog, know that I’ve come a long way from what I originally started it for. (Which funny enough, was a food cart in Portland…)

As a person who writes, I am always looking for this outline. Rising action and conflict and then the mighty downfall. We all know it’s coming. You can only ride the wave for so long before you crash.

I know that sounds rough. Well, it is.

4a-noah-angel-turns-back-on-humanity

There’s also clarity in story. There’s a point, usually. Thought is explored and there is some answer. Maybe not the one you were looking for.

I’m sure there is some danger in seeing your life as a story — maybe the glorification of the mundane, but seriously, why not? Why not see a metaphor and explore the depths of a left when you were supposed to be taking a right.

I am lacking clarity, at the moment. I can’t see very far. It’s good to have goals, I just can’t put my finger on any of them. My foot is still firmly planted in a lot of things I’m not ready to lose.

I am afraid to lose things — things that I have learned and the person I have become. For some reason, I think I will forget my time in Oregon as some sort of defense mechanism, and I don’t want that to happen.

Oregon was a wonderful and strong part of my character development. There was a lot of beauty and a lot of heartbreak. It surely makes my story richer. It adds depth, but at great personal loss.

I miss that love.

Even in the day-in/day out flow of my life, I know there are people out there fighting to live and for one another. That’s powerful. I suppose I have to figure out what it is I’m fighting for now. In a different way, I am having to create another exposition of my transition back to life in the Deep South. A new chapter.

Maybe even an entirely different story. I’m not quite sure.

But I see them, on my shelf. My other stories. Some quite sad, and some very short. They’re all there though. I can crack them open and examine my character to see how much I’ve changed, and to take in deeply the pieces I’ve underlined. Even more so, the words that aren’t that special. The everyday words.

Because everyday words, are just as important, and hold up the rare moments we actually get to say what we mean.

So no, my story is not about building an arc for all the world’s animals, but things have been washed away a bit. I suppose rocking back and forth on the rough seas feels about right.

When the sun bursts out of the them dark clouds, I will feel it on my face and feel thankful that I was not swallowed up by the sea.

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5 responses

  1. Every time I read your blog, I am deeply impressed with your intellect, sensitivity, and creativity. You are a joy. And, your character? It shines brightly, Josh. Never lose sight of that.

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