Lately, I’ve been thinking about stories within stories.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for a while– as an art model, I occasionally sees photos of myself looking at a painting of myself (a painting done while I look at the painter and the painter looks at me). It’s bound to come up.
But the real reason I’ve been thinking about nested narrative (mise en abyme, or “placed in the abyss”, if you will) is Ryan Gossling. And Macauley Culkin. (What’s sacred and what’s profound in this theory/movie star confluence is up to you….).
Of all the advice I’ve been given, there is only one I find easy to follow:
Surround yourself with people smarter than you are.
It’s inevitable really; I know some damn smart people, and besides, the way I see it, my knowledge is pretty limited so everyone is smarter than me in some area. And I’m always keen to raid their specific type of knowledge and pilfer their smarts.
But recently, I’ve had the chance to learn from some amazing and talented people.
The books we read, the stories we tell, the narratives we allow to furnish our inner theatre, can—I believe—form the cosmology of our innermost self. We are a network of stories without beginning or end. We are a mass of tangled, interwoven texts. But there must be some foundation for this creationist tale of ‘I’. There must be, at the beginning, the stories of our childhood: stories that give meaning to all stories that follow.