Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Logic of Narrative Blogs

A Free Man in Preston recently posted something very clever:


It’s been one of those non-linear days.
I drove to work bleary eyed, got up and had a shower. At lunchtime I thought about going for a jog, but it was raining by the time I got back so I didn’t bother.

On the whiteboard in Neil’s office there was a graph depicting next year’s disappointed figures. It resembled a craggy mountain range. The outlook was positively downhill. The graph staggered down from the whiteboard and onto the wall, round the back of a filing cabinet, out of the room and with one final jaunty squiggle, hung a right up the corridor.
I said to Mike “Hard times are just around the corner.”

When I eventually got home there was a note saying “You look tired. I’ve ran you a bath.”
I said “I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.”

Neil came sliding into the room in his socks and said “How much do you have left to give?”
Mike said “Are you two on fucking drugs?”

Neil said “We need to turn these figures on their head.”
He’s trying to rope us into some inter-departmentalist bash in the Peak District. They’re going dis-orienteering.

Not only is this a wonderful piece of writing, but it captures a point that will have occurred immediately to anyone--except me, because I've just noticed it--who reads or writes narrative in the form of a blog. The narrative proceeds (if that's the right word) backwards. To follow a story, the reader must scroll down. Characters undevelop rather than develop. All narrative blogs must, in this respect, follow the form of Harold Pinter's wonderful play about adultery Betrayal.

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