Archive for December, 2007

I’m working on a new performance project that is an investigation of time, and it has me thinking a lot about linear narrative.  It’s interesting that our macro experience of life (birth into death) trumps the cyclical, sun-driven structure of our day-to-day existence.  If my boyfriend read that last sentence, he would say, “What the hell do you mean?  Why can’t you just put things more simply?”  Well, I think I mean this: Linear narrative is satisfying.

Cyclical patterns are comforting, but we get bored with them after a while.  We grow up and we don’t want to be rocked to sleep anymore – at least not every night.  Other patterns (and non-patterns) can be interesting, intriguing, exciting, but it’s the linear narrative that (for better or worse) is our native language.  No matter how simplistic or unadventurous it may seem in certain contexts, linear narrative has a pull.  We recognize it emerging from chaos (or we invent it to keep ourselves from chaos) and we are relieved, just as we are when hearing our native tongue used in a foreign country.  Sometimes that relief is followed quickly by annoyance at the loss of a desired challenge; it depends how long we have been travelling alone in the strange land.

As I develop this piece, it is of course important to investigate the linear as an invented structure and take it apart, reconfigure it, all those post-post-modern standbys, but I’m also finding that humanity of the linear narrative, of the concept of “story” is interesting and worth another look, despite its recent status as, well, “totally uncool.”

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