New tagline time

December 4, 2007

Solidarity is still ice cream for the soul, but I ran across the new tagline while reading for this week’s CNF workshop, and I was hooked.

I’ve been thinking a lot about limitations this semester, ever since re-reading Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story and finding that the part that jumped out at me this time was her observation that some of the best memoirs are formed not b/c of who the narrator was but b/c of who the narrator could never be. Not b/c the of the story’s ability to be universal but b/c of the limits that perhaps not even the narrator fully understood but gradually betrayed through the piece by piece composition of the story. When I read that, I thought, yikes, she’s right–if I’m not careful, I’m going to end up trying to be all things to all people even when I sit down to write the story of my life. Oy vey.

See, I’m not a big fan of limits. I wrote a personal statement once that started with the sentence “If I could describe myself in one word, it would be ‘and.'” I like to be capable of more things, not fewer. I like, or at least I have thought that I liked, having lots of options.

But really, nothing exists without limits. Things, especially written things, exist precisely b/c of limits. Nothing can begin to exist without limits. That’s what I need to work on right now, I think–embracing whatever small observation, impulse, or project I have access to right now, and seeing it through to its assuredly stunted and imperfect conclusion.

So here come the imperfections, ordinary and, I hope, plenty constant. But of course you knew that already 🙂 I’m pretty much the only one who keeps forgetting…

On an unrelated note, how sad am I that I don’t have the Sundance channel so I could watch this show about Watersmeet, MI? If I hadn’t actually been to Watersmeet, I’m sure I would think that it was the most poetic smalltown name in the world, but I have been there, so… maybe a documentary is just what I need to get a little poetic distance.


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