Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wrapped in Stories

I want to wrap myself up in the coziness of a story--the kind that you lose yourself in, that makes you want to gather up yourself and your two favorite things and to step into a nether world.  I want a closet to Narnia, but without the Christian undertones.  I want Fairyland or Oz.  I want to hang out with Weetzie Bat.  I want to escape to a land that hasn't even been named yet.  As if I could escape into or control the outcomes in these stories any better than I can within the one I'm living...

One of my favorite lines regarding these thoughts is by one of my new favorite characters (September of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente):

"The trouble was, September didn't know what sort of story she was in.  Was it a merry one or a serious one?  How ought she act?...  "  

The narrator offers her omniscient reply to this thought of September's:
"But no one may know the shape of the tale in which they move.  And, perhaps, we do not truly know what sort of beast it is, either.  Stories have a way of changing faces.  They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers.  This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble" (p. 36).

I can't quite get a handle on the story I'm in right now:  It has beautiful scenery and a huge cast of characters, but the protagonist seems a little weary in the world.  It seems to be that moment in the story when the main character seems a bit adrift in her daily routines, and sometimes a bit overly sensitive to the world around her.

I guess what I'm wanting, is to believe that I'm in the midst of a good, rollicking adventure story (Like that great 80s classic Romancing the Stone--stop it, I can hear the eyeballs rolling, don't judge me for that one).  Right?  I want to splash down waterfalls, be thoroughly annoyed by brash handsome men, outsmart bad guys, and??  Write a bestselling novel about it in the end.  (Do I have this movie confused with a different one?  I'm going to have to watch it in the name of "research" I think.)  

I know that my (less fictional) alternative is a lot less colorful than this.  I know that I have control of nothing; I know that breathing through the moment is key.  I know that being in the moment is key.  I know that bringing myself back to present is key.  But, damn, I'd like to slip into a narrative where I was a cat burglar, where I talked with dragons and swam with mermaids... and I'd like to be wrapped in this fanciful narrative until I'm ready to bring myself back to the "real" world. 

(One last word from Valente's Fairyland:)
"All stories must end so, with the next tale winking out of the corners of the last pages, promising more, promising moonlight and dancing and revels, if only you will come back when spring comes again" (p. 247).

It's spring.  It's here.  I'm ready for the next tale.

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