BWF: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

I’ve already sort of written about this panel discussion I went to during the Brisbane Writers Festival in September, but that wasn’t so much about the talk itself as it was about a particular author on the panel, and a particular book that I more or less fell in love with…

Anyway, the talk gave me quite a bit to think about, and it swelled my soul with so much inspiration, so, like anything that I do not want to forget, I’m writing about it. 

The only problem is that it was so long ago (reasonably long ago) and so much has happened in between then and now that I’m not sure that I can recall the pertinent points at the present time. Furthermore, I was so engaged in the talk that I had taken minimal notes, and thus have little to go on.

One thing I did jot down was about “close-noticing”, which one of the panellists (sorry, I didn’t note down which one) explained was the act of disintegrating or breaking down a subject into such minuscule detail that it becomes something alien. I suppose it’s kind of like those photos of things taken under microscopes. At that level of magnification, most objects become unrecognisable, yet you can see more of the thing, and you can discover something new about it.

There is more truth that can be revealed by close-noticing, whether it’s an object, a person, a sensation.

And I suppose the main point of the panel discussion was to encourage the idea that great stories can be found in ordinary people and ordinary lives, if only we took the time to notice the remarkable and interesting within them.

Actually, I would elaborate on this, and write more, but I feel like most blog people already understand and appreciate this.

The only thing I might add is that I have long believed that everyone has a story to tell. It might not always be an interesting story for everyone, but everyone’s got a story (at least one). I find most people’s stories interesting. Sometimes I think that it’s not that I am necessarily naturally interested in everyone’s stories, but I seem to be able to make myself interested in other people.

Now, this might sound like I’m not being genuine, but I like to think of it as being empathetic (?)

Speaking of empathy (this is kind of related but kind of not), I’m finding that I’m empathising with a lot of characters in a lot of situations in Anna Karenina. (Yes, I’m still making my way through that epic tome. I already know that I’m going to feel so sad after it’s finished.) I have actually considered writing posts for each of the characters with whom I empathise, highlighting parts of their stories and drawing parallels with my own life …but that seems like a lot of effort, and also time-consuming. Oh well, I’ll see how I feel by the end of the novel.

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