Life’s a fairy-tale, Vonnegut-style

A post of a post today. A blogger, Derek Sivers, has reproduced a fabulous series of graphs Kurt Vonnegut drew, to explain why we love drama — or, more precisely, why we love stories.

He shows how the emotional structure — misery, rescue, hope, fear, relief — is built (and for writers, seeing it mapped out like that is both useful and soberingly practical) and then how, loving those stories so completely from childhood, we expect our lives to resemble them in dramatic terms — what-happens-next-what-happens-next, is the subtext to our lives.

The answer — ho-hum, not much — is disappointing.

“But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.”

That’s why people invent fights. That’s why we’re drawn to sports. That’s why we act like everything that happens to us is such a big deal.

We’re trying to make our life into a fairy tale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *