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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Living Literature 3

Frame stirred some interest last week, so I mentioned in a comment that I was thinking of either following up with some more of her, or by indulging some wandering through Keri Hulme. 

Frame won.

My Write on Wednesday meandering round other blogs led me to post some comments where I happened to comment about the blurred line between fiction and fact, and how my reading of Frame has helped me find a perspective about fiction that works for me.

It seemed only right, then, to allow 'live' her literature in today's post, since her ideas truly have been living in me through the week.

Her Autobiography, To The Is-land, is still the source for today's material. Maybe I'll share some other texts some other time, but I seem to be grounded here for a while. The very first section, entitled "In The Second Place", establishes the nature of truth and its wandering vagaries as a theme of her text. This is the entire first section:
From the first place of liquid darkness, within the second place of air and light, I set down the following record with its mixture of fact and truths and memories of truths and its direction always towards the Third Place, where the starting point is myth.

I so love this as an introduction to the 'facts' of her autobiography. It's like a disclaimer before she even lets the ink loose on the page. "Facts? Oh yes. But also lots of other things mixed up as well." I especially love the "liquid darkness".  I am reminded of Jung's psyche, or the innermost well we all have where our dreams and drives bubble and cook away. Frame has that as the first place, and I think we do bubble up and out from that inner deep place of dreams and instinct and urges. I like it that she surrounds this "liquid darkness" with "air and light", since most of us act out our conscious existence in the ordinary old world of "air and light" where we drink cups of tea, and eat scones.

(The tea and scones are a small tribute to Frame, who always extended warm hospitality. I once called Frame, around 1990?, and had a rather brief, but extremely warm chat, where she wondered if she and I might get together and share tea and scones one day.)

In this second place of air and light, Frame draws on fact, and truth and memories of truths. As we write, and even as we move to places in our lives where we can reflect back over several lives' worth of utterly different stories, I think we all do begin to feel we live in a place where fact, and truth and memories of truths become blended together.

The truth of what has happened to us, and of what we have done is certainly there inside us. However, many different stories can be told about those truths, and those facts, and in the telling, different stories with different emphases are created. Wonderful models of therapy have grown out of the knowledge that it can be profoundly healing to re-frame our stories so we can gain agency and centrality where we may not have held it previously. Narrative Therapy is one of these powerful models.

And from the Second Place of light and air, the work of drawing together the facts, truths and memories of truths points us in the direction of, "the Third Place, where the starting point is myth."

I'm a bit pooped at that point! I resonate with her truths and facts, and places of light and air, but I can never quite truly get with the myth. Do you? Do you see that it's different from the other places?

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