Lance Scranton: The story continues
January 8, 2019
Students in literature classes likely get tired of my constant reminders that all stories follow a predictable pattern. Most, if not all, literary works have a beginning (exposition), a middle (rising, climax, and falling action), and an ending (resolution).
The climax is understood as the point in the story where the main character makes a decision that affects the rest of the story. It isn't always the most exciting or intense part of the story, as the simplified definition suggests.
Each of our lives is just like the story, only lived out over many days, weeks, months, and, if we're fortunate, years. Our lives are a story being told in a more complicated manner in which each of us takes personal responsibility for actions which cast consequences far into our futures.
The difference between a story and our lives is that we have the opportunity to change the course of our outcome so many times throughout our lives. But each of us can likely point to one or two of our decisions we can look back on and realize just how much each affected our future.
Decisions are wrapped up in a host of complicated and often banal-seeming daily habits and responses to all the things going on around us and inside us. In literature the main character is forced to deal with the consequences of the decision made, and most authors begin to wind down the action in preparation for the resolution.
What makes our story so much less predictable than the literary constraints of fiction are the many opportunities we have to rewrite some of the script by forging a different ending. The story continues because we make a determination to do something different, which propels us into a different future. Some make decisions that impact their live immediately and positively, while others continue making decisions that won't change the outcome.
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What a great way to think about the new year. Your story continues. What decisions will you make to affect your future? Your story continues, and you can write the ending you want by the decisions you make each and every day this year.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.