“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” Joan Didion writes to open one of her many seminal essays, “The White Album.” “We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social and moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.” A cursory Google search of those opening lines reveals that they have been used by none less than a Christian evangelist, a postmodern philosopher, a business leadership consultant, a Beatles biographer, and Into Thin Air author John Krakauer to illustrate stories’ sway over our lives. It’s a compendium of characters Didion herself might appreciate, and one which her own family is now joining.
For more, read Elizabeth’s story on the Huffington Post.