Thursday, September 8, 2011

Forward information

"People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories."
Chinua Achebe 

I never liked forwards.

In all fairness, I don't like afterwords either. I don't fancy prefaces, letters of introduction, any synopsis with a plot description, and for the most part, I don't like author information. Ideally, I would rather not know who wrote the books that I most identify with- I'd rather or not know if the story is fiction or non-fiction. I just want to read the story, to make my own conclusions, and then follow my own inferences down whatever track my mental train finds favorable.

I have always been the kind of person who likes to make my own conclusions. I, like most people, don't like to be told what to think. I like to imagine the before and the after, and think about the implications of the end results and the beginnings it creates. The story continues on in my mind, through new events, new life, and deaths, and forever.

So you can imagine that these insights into the author and their purpose, and the reasons or inspiration for their writing- well, it ruins it for me. As soon as I gain the knowledge of intention, my own implications are no longer foremost. They change with the truth of the story- "did this really happen? What does that mean for what I've been thinking?" It's all very disappointing, and quite frankly, exhausting, to have to rebuild whatever back story and forward life that I have been creating.

I guess that sometimes I feel the same way with people, though for different reasons. See, with a story, I like to create the world that surrounds it. But with people, I like to create conclusions as I get to know them. I don't want to know about the past that they may embody (in most situations, anyway) unless they want to provide it for me in the course of our friendship. I want to get to know them from the start, to make my own conclusions, and to learn to love them in the way they most need it.

Gossip, in my opinion, is just a great big forward that we all get caught up in. We refuse to get to know people and the truth about them because we are so caught up in what we think we've learned before. We think we can imagine the back story because we already know "intention", but in reality, all we really know is someone's perceived take on the past, on what they think happened.

I don't like forwards because I don't like to be told how to think. So it's almost disheartening to me to think how much time I've wasted listening to people tell forwards to all kinds of different people in my past, and never bothering to ignore them, because I was too caught up in the moment, the lie, the exhilaration of a secret.

I'm giving up gossip and buying ebooks (they let you jump and tend to lack forwards). This way, everybody wins.

And with a little luck, I get to know all kinds of new people.

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