Much of what happens to us in life is nameless because our vocabulary is too poor. Most stories get told out loud because the storyteller hopes that the telling of the story can transform a nameless event into a familiar or or intimate one. We tend to associate intimacy with closeness and closeness with a certain sum of shared experiences. Yet every day total strangers, who will never say a single word to one another, can share an intimacy. An intimacy contained in the exchange of a glance, a nod of the head, a smile, a shrug of a shoulder. A closeness which lasts for a second or for the duration of a song being sung and listened to together. An agreement about life. An agreement without clauses.
∆ John Berger, from Some Notes About Song (for Yasmin Hamdan), Confabulations
To think outside narrative history requires reworking linear temporality. It requires “the rewriting of the senses” (Jacqui Alexander's words) in order to apprehend an expanded range of temporal experiences––experiences not regulated by “clock” time or by a conceptualization of the present as singular and fleeting; experiences not narrowed by the idea that time moves steadily forward, that it is scarce, that we live on only one temporal plane.
11 blocks • over 1 year ago
“If we feel we have a unified identity from birth to death, it is only because we construct a comforting story or ‘narrative of the self’ about ourselves. The fully unified, completed, secure, and coherent identity is a fantasy.”