In the past couple of years I’ve noticed many people interested in meditation using the word story as if it was a bad thing. This came up more than once during my Shambhala Training weekends. I also remember talking with some Buddhist students at Naropa Boulder about what we would be without a story . And this week I was listening to one of my favorite dharma podcasts where a participant spoke very dismissively about his story .
I’m not sure most people understand what story really means.
For me this is very troubling and not just because I’m a writer of stories. But also because I believe that stories are essential for living as a human being.
From websters the word story is
A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. Manuel De Landa. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 1997. 333 pages.
This book came recommended to me by Bhanu Kapil after I shared with her my response to Architecture from the Outside. Since we both had some scientific training, I think she understood the rigor and clarity I was expecting from an academic text.
De Landa sets out to write a history book that actively counters traditional linear views of history. But he states several times that no system (non-linear or otherwise) is inherently better than any other. All types of systems have potential flaws and potential value. In the conclusion he warns,
To simply increase heterogeneity without articulating this diversity into a meshwork not only results in further conflict and friction, […]
The past few weeks I’ve really been in a motivated state. Although I’m working full time as a house painter, I still spend most of my evening hours writing and reading. It’s a life-style I enjoy. Doris even called me a scholar the other day.
At least three nights during the week I go to the coffee shop for a few hours to work on Josie . And this weekend I spent a couple of hours on Saturday with the manuscript. I found an empty classroom at Naropa Boulder and spread the pages out on the floor.
I arranged each consecutive chapter in two different rows according to the two different time-lines in the story. The first time-line, where the novel starts, is post-college. The second time-line is pre-college and goes up to the narrator’s freshman year.