Saturday, September 10, 2005
There is only One Narrator and One Protagonist
A novelist chooses whether to tell a story from one protagonist's point of view, or from multiple points of views.
One drama series I've always loved is Little House on the Prairie, which is told from Laura Ingall's perspective. Through Laura's world view, we get a picture of what is going on with the other locals at Walnut Grove. Some characters appear more favourable than others. Nellie Olsen, for instance, is Laura's least favourite person; Nellie is cleverly portrayed as a spoilt brat. It will be interesting to see Walnut Grove from Nellie Olsen's perspective.
Just this morning before I left home, my mother and I discussed yesterday's weather. I listened to her story of how muggy it was, and how she sweated buckets, and how the weather drove her "mad." While I found her story interesting, I couldn't relate to her at all. It's as if we are living in different universes. My experience of yesterday was it was lovely, so much so, I went for a long walk.
Does that make my mother's experience wrong and mine right? Of course not. We simply have different ways of experiencing the Universe because our inner state i.e. the way we experience the world, is different. It's not that I don't register when it's hot, I just don't give it much thought. It simply is. I tend to focus on what brings me joy and not the weather. Perhaps, if my mother had my inner state she would experience the world the way I do. But it is not my place to tell her how she should live her life. She is the Protagonist of her own Story.
Yesterday on my walk, I stopped to rest on a tree bough and enjoy the tranquillity of the forest. Apart from the birds and a few squirrels, it felt like I was the only one in that forest. Then I heard noises behind me and turned to see two dogs running towards me. One dog wanted to kiss me but I stroked his head instead. The other dog stood close by. Then they ran off somewhere. I had also been wondering whether there was another exit out of the forest. The dogs lead me to that exit. This reflects my belief of the Universe always being loving and helpful.
An hour later while I was walking by a building, I saw a dog waiting outside. I reached out to stroke it but the dog wasn't in the mood to be stroked. He nearly bit my hand off, but I was way too fast for him to harm me in anyway. That experience reflects another core belief that Love cannot hurt Love. No matter how "hateful" someone is towards me, I know Love will dissipate that "energy" or transmute it into Love.
Reminds me of when I was nearly run over last year, by a bus of all things. It felt like I was in a movie where I was aware of each picture frame. I was running across the road to catch a bus thinking I had enough time when another bus overtook the bus I wanted. I watched as this bus approached me. Just before the bus was about to hit me, I twisted my body round, jumped out of the way, retrieved a slipper from the bottom of the bus, and ran over to the other bus I wanted. The speed at which I had moved was nothing short of divine intervention thus demonstrating that Love does not hurt Love.
We are all protagonists in our own stories, yet people expect everyone to experience the Universe in an identical manner. I mean, imagine if I got upset with my friend because he is a musician. I appreciate my friend is following what he believes is true for him, and I follow what is real for me.
What is the one story we are all trying to tell? It is the story of Love, obviously.
However you tell it, enjoy.
Related articles: True to the Music;You've Got It