Thursday, August 3, 2023

The curse of narrative thinking.


Hello again. I've been away from collecting for awhile, but it's not a bad thing. I've actually been more active in creative fields - both writing and cartooning. And more recently, I've been actively collecting with different focus, so I'll have more to write about shortly.

But right now, today, I want to ask if any writers out there, or even dedicated fans of TV and films, suffer from occasional bouts of narrative thinking paralysis.

Not sure what I mean? It can happen anytime. It happened to me recently:

I was talking with my friend Shelby - or texting, I actually don't remember which - and she asked if my wife and I had any plans for the weekend. We usually don't particularly, but this week we did. But before I could answer, narrative paralysis set in. I thought:

If this is a movie about me, Shelby asking what my plans are is a harmless exposition scene to establish the general path of the film.


If this is a movie about Shelby, her asking what my plans are will establish why I'm gone, then I come back in act III with either some terrible event from the weekend, or don't come back at all.

...or even...

If this is a horror film about me, something terrible is going to happen to me, AND Shelby is going to get pulled into it in Act III.

Crazy? Trained from structuring out dozens of stories, and also from watching and studying hundreds more, I applied Chekhov's gun to real life. Like, if I say plans out loud, there's a "narrative reason" for it, and something will come of it. 

You know that's not what I mean.
I only  paused a moment, and I did give a real "normal" answer, but I found the thought very interesting. And for the weekend, as we drove out of town in unfamiliar places down unfamiliar roads, I occasionally considered - am I in a narrative?

Has this ever happened to you?

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