Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Plot of your Life

A writer sitting down to write a novel must first make up, or borrow, a gripping story known as a plot. A plot
  • is not real life, which is often seemingly chaotic, but an edited version of it. 
  • has characters who never lived, who seem familiar in their energy and emotions, having some of the facets of real people. 
  • shapes a story to move the reader's feelings in a way which may or may not reflect what life is really about. 
A plot is also Art. It has an internal reality which can affect the shape of the plot : a plot must work to satisfy the reader. A plot will also reflect a writer's own perceptions, experiences and presuppositions. As we know, even great writers can be slightly weird, or even disreputable people, some of whom we would not invite to dinner.

A plot must also bear something of the distinctive marks of real life in its internal conflicts, external conflicts, wider background, higher internal conflicts, a darkest hour, character growth and final resolution.

Life, even modern life, has a plot for each of us which for some of us goes something like this:

Life is a journey away from a state of alienation and intellectual and physical dependence, from
  • ignorance, poverty, contradiction, self-deception, lack of identity (who am i?) 
  • evil, both physical and invisible 
  • dead ideologies and cultures/people/institutions 
  • confusion, lack of logic and long term vision
  • temptation 
  • endless excuses/prevarication 
  • weakness physical, societal and emotional 
  • alienation 
  • intellectual and physical independence 
  • work, service, creativity 
  • knowledge, social stability 
  • clarity about goals, people, institutions and society 
  • hope, true relationships, true 'family' 
  • stable and reliable character 
  • enduring love 
  • beauty 
  • moral strength 
  • "life to the full". 
To achieve this, in a fallen world, successfully, requires
  • formidable discernment and wisdom 
  • moral energy, depth and internal resources
  • self-restraint and self-discipline 
  • ongoing and keen discernment about people, society and ideologies 
  • victory over unreason and "feeling" 
  • courage and assertiveness (holding one's own) 
  • conquest of addiction and a tendency to despair 
  • hope and faith 
  • external Help, emotional and spiritual. 
It also requires Providence. The prizes are not necessarily financial, 'the world', but character, hope, integrity, honour, respect, influence and legacy, ongoing purity of feeling and perception (as far as ongoing health allows). The greatest prize is your eternal soul. The greatest (Christian) writer faithfully reflects this journey and satisfies the internal demands of Art.

Amazingly, according to Scripture, a Higher Power, who is perfect in every way, has already written the plot of our life - however much we think we "did it our way".

Psalm 139:16 says
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (NIV).

1 comment:

  1. We've just read 'David Copperfield' in our book club. That's the key question: whether we will turn out to be the heroes of our own stories and how we define heroism - which you set out in part three of your analysis. The greatest prize is to gain our eternal souls and the most thoroughgoing test is of the hidden motives of the heart which God only is able to bring to light.