Why I want to be in this class:
I’d like to explore more deeply narrative form and its various permutations, how it functions within our lives – as a (the??) structure or lens to understand the world, to interact, participate, relate to others. There are many ways to play around with narrative, challenge the idea of what “makes” a story. I’d like the space to experiment with different forms and see what’s possible. Also, I’m very interested in the almost unconscious act of narrativizing anything and everything. Why does this happen? How can an author or an artist both capitalize on a viewers’ preconceived notions of a story and guide them down say a particular path? Where is the power? The control? Are those qualities necessary or inherent to the success of a story?
The contents of my bag scattered across the sidewalk. He watched as I gathered everything up, paused to examine the broken strap. “Do you need a ride somewhere?”
For this assignment, I wanted to start with the 400 word constraint and then whittle the story down to 55, 25, and finally 6. I began writing and realized I had a problem when I reached 500 words and still hadn’t reached the conclusion. I was nowhere near it, actually. I struggled with how to end the story and didn’t want to sacrifice any other part of the story to afford myself more words. I didn’t want to end the story so abruptly either – I felt I had a responsibility to the reader to provide an ending. Also for selfish reasons, I wanted to share how it ended because I think its a great story. I managed to edit the story down to 400 words but felt unsatisfied. I also realized that I found the story much more compelling when orally recounted. The performative aspect allows me to exert more control over the story and more easily self edit given the cues from the audience.
For the 55 and 25 word limit format, I chose parts of the story to highlight – what I thought could stand alone. It’s interesting though that I chose to share the 25 word format which ends with a question (and those many possibilities / directions for the story to continue) and feel more comfortable with that open-endedness than in the 400 word limit. Perhaps it’s because I think it assumes a more poetic quality with that short format. Or it could be that since I know the full story, I find it carries more weight in those few words than in the more fleshed out telling.
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