Saturday, June 29, 2024

Free Fall


I am re-reading Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It's a beautiful book and after I finish it, I will probably read it a third time. Maybe a fourth. The novel's hero, Less, spends almost the entire book free-falling. His free-fall is heartbreaking. It's also very funny. 

In the end, our hero is triumphant. But that's not the point. The point is, he survives many defeats and mortifications. He's down for the count and we fear for his future. But, things turn around (at the very, very end of the story) and he does survive.

The great thing about reading fiction is that it shows you how people can go through the most terrible embarrassments and missteps and still live to see another day. A person grows old, feeble, confused, makes a fool of himself, allow the bullies to push him around and finally he drags his way--bloodied and beaten--into the Darkest Moment.

This is actually an official term when it comes to novel writing and the art of story. You can thank Joseph Campbell for that. 

It also feels like what we witnessed during the Thursday night presidential debates. There was Biden, seemingly enfeebled, confused--doing his best to stand up to a bully and a liar and ultimately letting the bully crush him.

Oh but Creative Friends, perhaps this is just the mid-point crisis in the longer narrative. It’s the middle of the story--sometimes referred to as "the muddle in the middle." And it's not over until it's over. From literature, I have learned that when everything seems hopeless and lost, this is precisely when something or someone can surprise us and turn everything around. Suddenly, there's an unexpected plot twist. A new character arrives. A life-altering revelation.

Anything is possible.

Creative Friends--your prompt for this week is to read a really good novel and stay hopeful and engaged.



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