neverendingstory
Family Life Personal

My Never Ending Existential Story

What's the story? Pull up a chair and I'll tell you ...

‘What’s the story?’

A common enough greeting where I live.

Often shortened to ‘Story?’

We all love stories, don’t we?

The fizz and flatulence of our lives whipped into frothy anecdotes to amuse, entertain or illuminate.

Sometimes we just want to complain:

“Wait till I tell you what that bastard did to me, and how I sorted him out …”

Or we just sit back and listen enthralled while someone else makes some sense of this fraughtly compelling existence of ours.

Informs us, or better again, excites our imaginations and incites our dreams.

Or gives us a good old belly laugh.

Some moments when the moon of our imagination is full and our existential shadows dance, we slip into some speculative fiction.

Or it could be the wine talking!

Why am I here? Am I happy?

Why won’t my children just surrender themselves to my wisdom and let me help them past the scary bits to get to the good part of the story? 

The happy ever after.

I could fight off the wolves in the forest, banish those evil witches with their poison apples, or chase away the demons that lurk beneath their night-time beds?

And protect them later from the false gods of mammon and impossible beauty?

And feel important, or relevant.

Of course,  it’s their narrative, and I can only speak now that they might understand later.

Tell them a few stories. Or at least take the sting out of their tales.

That’s the thing about stories, of course, we have to keep telling them.

To ourselves and others.

We must keep whistling past the graveyard, and reining in our anxieties, about love, destiny, and that ultimate head-scratcher, death.

We can’t just be uncelebrated nobodies, of course, we must be giants, or gods beset by monsters.

The heroes in our own stories.

Even if things are just happening to us, we are still central to the plot.

Like many parents or adults, I am intrigued by all these superhero movies our teenage kids seem to love.

Not so much the movies themselves, but what it all means.

Are they like a religion in these worrying times, giving them something to latch on to in times of great uncertainty?

Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Spiderman … the mighty Thor, the amazing Wonder Woman …. 

Tall stories for small boys and girls. Of all ages.

Heroes all.

Conquering evil and stamping out doubt and confusion.

Taking no crap, dispensing black and white justice in exhilarating technicolour.

How adolescents see life, maybe, or how they would deal with things if they had superpowers.

Or were the president of America.

And what about that latest twist in the tale of Tiger Woods, eh?

All those headlines and reports of marital implosion and last-ditch back operations, fusing his spine for one last tilt at major immortality.

And there he was, sinking that putt and hugging his little boy as he reclaimed his major status.

To Elin back.

Another tall tale, really, but a pretty good one.

Lately, though, I’ve been wondering about the place where all the stories stop.

That place where the narrative ends, even as existence continues.

Where the plot has been lost.

And I’m not just talking post-modernism.

I’m thinking more of a feeling of being caught between stories …  or am I just looking to find the right page?

Any page.

Now there are those who will tell you that this is the place where the good stuff happens: the real stuff of visions or nirvanic bliss.

Or it’s where you come unstuck.

I don’t know.

I would just like to feel more secure about it all.

In it all.

I don’t dismiss tales of an ever-after life, like I did when I was younger, back when I dispensed black and white judgments on technicolour improprieties.

Heaven knows, it’s a never-ending story, isn’t it?

I just don’t know.

It’s like I am still looking, even now,  for some control over my own narrative, to make the story mine, break this feeling of being caught up in someone else’s movie.

I know how my story will end, of course, literally, but I suppose I’d like a few twists or surprises before that.

I think that’s what I am doing here in this blog … trying to shape my narrative, tweak it, reword it … control it.

Or try to.

As I write I have to fight the urge for expertise, to write with authority.

Rather I must remind myself I am merely putting out some thoughts.

Looking for connections, trying to spark a conversation or two.

Wondering what’s the story?

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40 comments on “My Never Ending Existential Story

  1. Ah, I loved the Never Ending Story, despite the annoyance of not knowing the name that Bastian shouted out at the end. It was supposed to have been his Mother’s name, but was her name really Moon Child? I was just talking to my 11 yr old the other day about ‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaarder and now she wants to read it. Are we all writing our own story, or is it being written by someone else? I often wonder which page I’m on. As parents I think our stories are always about keeping our offspring safe until they are off to become their own type of super hero.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to confess I never saw the movie, Anne! Just like the name, I guess. Nor have I read Sophie’s World. As my dad used to say regarding great works of cultural significance that he had no intention of exploring: “It’s regarded as good” I’ll say the same for Ms Gaarder’s work!

      Like

      • I can’t believe you haven’t seen the film!
        I’ve always had a bit of an interest in philosophy, up until the point my brain fries…which isn’t very far. I like a good fantasy too… Ok digging a bit more into your words, I was reminded of a quote for Sir Terry Pratchett, “If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
        As for the ending…well, who knows?

        Like

  2. Karen Dennis

    I have never actually watched this movie all the way through, just caught snippets of it#dreamteam@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s the thing about stories, of course, we have to keep telling them. Love it. Sometimes I tell them to the point that the imagined stories become real and poetic licence shapes them into whole new events. That happened. To me. Even though I wasn’t there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And we keep going back on our stories, and respinning them … maybe we are our own greatest works of fiction, Mary, or is it faction???

      Like

  4. That’s the beauty of a blog, it is your narrative to do with as you please! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Daydreamer mum

    I’ve been pondering similar for a while now. In one of fave crappy , cheesy romantic movies there’s a line said by our girl frustrated with romantic bad luck “you’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life ” and despite cheesy movie I think you’ve probably got to put a bit of effort into that . I definitely need to make more of an effort with that!! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah … it is a bit of an effort … and I have to remind my son, in particular, that he has to make more of an effort with people. Inclined to sit back and wait for them to make the first move!

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  6. Excellent

    Like

  7. Oh, if only our children would learn from OUR mistakes! I have so much wisdom to impart to my kids, if they would only listen to me. But I never listened to my parents, either. I had to learn the hard way.

    Your post reminded me of the Douglas Powers quote “The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story. “

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tracey A Abrahams

    I understand where you’re coming from in reference to control. It’s more comforting to believe we’re the author of our own stories rather than characters in a story written by fate/chaos or whatever divinity you believe in.

    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I’m not a believer in anything, except.maybe the here and now. Not dismissing anything, just not a believer, as such. If that makes any sense, Tracey

      Like

  9. Yep, everything in life is a story, you just gotta tell it. And guess what, life is a neverending story. 🙂 Loved that movie when I was a kid. Great post. #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the “Neverending Story”. I like to drive the bus instead of other people driving the bus. Just me. Very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love crafting my story on the blog and hope people can use them for a moment of levity in a world that doesn’t have enough of it. I’ll never give up on narrating, because it’s so much better than someone else narrating me! #ABitOfEverything

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brilliant as always man. Life is full of chapters and all we can do is try and pretend we are shaping the narrative to our will

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And what a story life is! If we can’t tell stories, be them true or not, where would we be?! Although hangs head in shame, I’ve never seen the film! Thanks for linking up #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oooh this ones definitely food for thought Enda. You’ve left me thinking… a lot. Life is but one big adventure right? But we have to write it down and steer it a bit if we want it to be memorable. Or at least, memorable to ourselves once we are past it and can’t remember what day of the week it is any more. Superhero’s are a fab way of remembering that theres good out in the world. Or perhaps a reminder that we should be adding to that good ourselves just a little bit more mindfully? Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tracey Carr

    I feel exactly the same way about blogging – it has already given me so many answers and that is one of the reasons why I like to write my thoughts down too. It can be great therapy. I don’t know about you but this mind of mine has a tendency to get fogged up on a regular basis and writing often helps to sort that out. Well we ever have all of the answers? I don’t know but I’ve decided to just trudge on and hope for the best! #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m coming back through with the #GlobalBlogging link up!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love this Enda. We are the authors and main characters of our own stories and indeed it is neverending. Our lives are made up of non-fiction and fiction; it’s how we choose to write it. It doesn’t require research, expertise – it is raw and the beauty of it is that we can put our own spin on it. But what’s important is that it is our own unique story #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If only we could write our own stories and our children’s – but I suppose we can in a way. Down to the decisions and choices that we make. But it’s the part of not knowing how the story ends that freaks me out the most. But would be really want to know? I’m not so sure. I find it compelling that we can tell our life story as time goes on but we will never really get to find out how it ends. Wow. Deep! Thanks so much for sharing with #TriumphantTales, please do come back next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jaki … thanks for taking the time to comment. That’s it, isn’t it, we’re telling our story AND it’s being told for us .. ending both known and unknown … freaky!!!

      Like

  19. Excellent points. I often think about the fact that the conversations we’re having with our friends about the struggles we face as parents, is even remotely similar to those our parents or grandparents had. Obviously a lot changes with each generation, but fundamentally, are the conversations the same? And in so being, is that the neverending story? #itsok

    Like

  20. I just cant understand why there is a difference in stories for girls and boys…why tgere is always a fairy tale with happy ending for girls abd some action oriented heroic type for boys?

    Liked by 1 person

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