Thursday, April 08, 2010
Story Arcs, Vonnegut explained
I have come to the realization (with help) that I need to expand on my previous post. Kurt Vonnegut is on a short list of authors that I want to start reading. I bought Player Piano during my Dystopian literature phase but never finished it. Mostly, because I realized early on that the style in which the first chapter was written wasn't that of a casual novel i could dive straight into. I felt an inclination to explore Vonnegut in a little bit more detail, so as not to walk away from Player Piano with a bad taste in my mouth, not having been able to understand/appreciate his style. I don't know if that makes sense, but suffice it to say: he's on my list. I don't know a lot else about Kurt Vonnegut. Really only three things:
1. He wrote Slaughterhouse Five (and Player Piano,)
2. He had a big hand in this. (Which i saw for the first time at the Book Tavern downtown and started wanting right away...)
3. He's a hell of a lot smarter than I am.
And that's where i begin...
I guess this is a confession of sorts. Lord knows, I'm terrible at confession. But Vonnegut outlines a very serious fear that I have been running from for most of my life. He describes life as automatic; boring and routine. He says that stories are reserved for the fantastic, for movies and books and video games. Six month ago, I would have openly denied my status as a practioner of said lifestyle. But, looking back, I am exactly that. I have so often sold my story short for what is convenient and simple, what is easy and accessible. I've settled; out of fear, boredom, or general selfishness, for days and pursuits far less interesting and true than the ones that I have been created for. Vonnegut nails the idea in such a delicate yet assertively true manner; far better than I could.
I think that I'm starting to believe that our stories really CAN be better, more beautiful and more free when we submit to Jesus. He has these terrific plans to guide and lead and to give me hope and value and adventure in life. But, I've settled for far less for the entirety of my life. I may have been on the right track a couple of times, but distraction wins out so steadily. Though, I'm starting to grow tired of seeing that ancient fear of failure, and those voices that discourage the life within me, define and shape my story arc. Vonnegut's "life" might be real, but there is something more real and more true out there. Not to say that Jesus will "keep out all the sadness," as I don't think I can believe that (see below.) But, there is life in him: he even claims, "I AM the life," and "I have come that they (Mondo) might have life, and have it to the FULLEST" (John 14:6, John 10:10, respectively.) I've lived like Mr. Vonnegut describes. But I see beauty in breaking that mold that rings so true. I think its possible for Christ to move into my and our life and revolutionize, re-center, and refocus our sights and plot outlines on him and make space for his perfect love and plan for our lives. Our stories can be so much more than this:
But I don't let myself believe it. I don't put my timeline in God's loving hands and await what he brings my way. People that have given themselves up don't live life like that (^). And I don't have to either, I think. I'm a long ways off from figuring all of this out, but I'm trying just to hold on to the hope of something greater. I think that's it.
So there it is.