Saturday, February 8, 2014

Narrative Imperative

I've tried this before and gotten away with it - I'll just pretend that you all didn't notice that I haven't been around for over a week.  In my defense there is some sort of collective writer's block plaguing the blogging community - true story.  So, moving on...

I haven't been poking around the boys' book-bags much recently, well, that's inaccurate, actually I poke around in them daily, I just haven't been archiving them here as much.  When I began writing this stuff, I used quite a bit of of the inane and insane nonsense that comes home from school.  Now, I know some of the people who read this are teachers (as in the boys actual teachers, like, right now, reading, shit, this...) and educators and I, in no way, want to imply that I have a problem with the assignments or the integrity of the curricula.

Cool, I think that went well.  I managed that with a voice of sincerity, right?

Here's some recent stuff from a six page packet you may recall called "Animals in Winter," mine was mimeographed, but otherwise you know the one.  We can start with a page from Zack's:

I think he has certainly fulfilled the parameters of the assignment.  He seems to have grasped the concept and all that.  He went a little above and beyond I think.  Below is a closeup of the bear hibernating, there on the, uh, "hibernate" side:

Yes indeed, the bear does have a stuffed bear and is, inexplicably, wearing an eye patch.

And on the other side, the "migrate" side, there is small flock of birds flying  amidst the skyscrapers and clouds.  Skyscrapers drawn in impossibly perfect perspective and, well below, a small man yells:

Nick took a more smartassy  humorous approach to the same worksheet:

Yes, well, the cloven-hooved-longtailed-pugnose-cat-bear is saying, "All of the sudden i'm tierd (tired)?!"  That's funny.  And, in anticipation of the next panel, the bird - cat-bird, actually - is saying "I'm out."  No doubt the same one muttering "Are we there yet?"

I should just go ahead and wrap this up, time is short and shorts are time and all that, but, I'm not going to.

When I started this today I was pleased that I found a couple of similar things in each of their respective bags.  Parity is imperative when you are a parent of twins, so, I was good with that.  And then I noticed something else, something else imperative.

Both boys, it seemed to me, defaulted to storytelling mode.  They chose to not just show the acts of hibernation and migration, but to tell a little story, a story I am sure that is much bigger than the one represented on paper.

I am just sure Zack could tell me why the bear has an eye patch, the name of the teddy-bear, and the story behind the lovely tasseled pillow he lays his head on.  He most likely imagined himself a bird flying through the clouds as he simultaneously looked up in wonder calling out a greeting to himself as he flew across the autumn sky.

And Nicky's little bear-thing suddenly realizing he's tired, worn out, ready to rest?  Yes, I am sure there is a beautiful story explaining his hooves and his luxurious striped tail, and his bemused happy look.  The little bird character, already so well-rounded, clearly a little smart aleck, I am sure his story is long and heroic, bittersweet and tragicomic.

Is it really all that?  You know, I think so.  I think we are born to tell stories.  We tell them in different ways, find our voices, all that, but I think it is as innate in us as a search for God or brewing, this narrative imperative.

I am the stories I tell, they are the stories they will tell, we are the stories that have been told.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

M: "I don't know how your dad is so hard on stuff."

N: "Yea, that is just how he rolls."

Yes, yes it is.  Nick's got my back...

As always I appreciate you coming around and staying a while.  Since you are still here, and since I am out of words, you should go check out the guys at Just a Dad 247. It's a wonderful new blog, fresh and invigorating.  They said some very nice things about this blog and I am very appreciative.  

1 comment:

  1. Second attempt at a comment. I'm trying this from a new browser and still most comments I write are lost to the abyss. I don't know what that means, but you might consider a new share plug-in (that's what people told me when I had similar issues anyway).

    I read Brian's piece first, as you insisted. Like you, I feel sympathy for anyone comparing themselves to that behemoth of a writer. With that said, as fathers we all write chapters in the same book and I enjoy yours as much as any and more than most. Thank you for sharing and tell the boys I said, "Darn good job!"