Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

The Nature of a Narrative Line


What is a “Narrative Line”?

Today’s re-blog is for Readers and Writers alike…

It also includes an invitation to buy a fascinating book :-)

Longreads

September 17

Annie Dillard talks about how the narrative line has been devalued by modern physics. The narrative line to me is like a Mexican mural: flattened in perspective so all is present; cramped by detail, erotic, various, the flat depth held up in the imagination, its transience, and impermanence nakedly apparent. The narrative does not lead from one place to another, from the past to the future, but more deeply into the present, always the present and its sense of time is in tune with the human heart rather than the chessman’s calculating mind; present moves are a means to the future. The narrative line, then, is at rest and jostling at the same time. Like a sonogram of a pregnant woman’s belly: the fetus’ tiny heartbeat jostled by gas.

—Poet and essayist Gretel Ehrlich, in a journal entry from 1985. The above passage is quoted from Our Private Lives:…

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