Friday, November 22, 2013

the back story

Specifically, "back story" refers to events in a movie or tale that preceded the current action. Metaphorically, I think, "back story" has crept into the language to refer to any thoughts, words or deeds which help provide a grounding for current events. Eg. "The abuser was himself abused as a child" or "Behind every great fortune there is a crime."

Back stories provide apparent context. They can also provide an explanation beyond which those in possession of the back story are unwilling to move: If you have an explanation, then things are explained and that's that. Further investigation is ... well ... it requires too much energy that I choose not to expend. Moreover, I am unwilling to admit that I have chosen to rest my case in the explanation provided by the back story I have approved. I know what I know ... nuff said.

But for those willing to loosen the reins a little, back stories are kind of interesting. Yes, they provide dimension and context. And yes, without context a situation or explanation or belief becomes tinny and possibly dangerous. But ...

But every back story itself has a back story and it is at this point in discussion that anyone might pull hard on the reins that control his or her life. Every back story has a back story and every story behind the back story likewise has a back story ... and ... and ... well, fuck that shit! To follow that Yellow Brick Road is to wind up in a wispy, uncertain realm where my life and sense of certainty might lose its footing. I need a resting place, a home, a place to have form and substance and belongingness.

Much-woven back stories might include "God" or "emptiness" or, if you're a Freudian, "mom" or "dad." Is there a realm without its back stories, whether profound or superficial? I doubt it.

And to ignore the back stories of this life is to consign this life to foolishness and cruelty.

And to rely on the back stories accomplishes much the same.

Back stories inevitably point back to the right-now, but the right-now is often little more than a machining and weaving of back stories.

Is there a story that has no back story? My guess is that the only way to figure that out, assuming anyone were willing to expend the energy, is to investigate the back stories ... right ... down ... to ...the... ground. Any answer is bound to be attended by back stories, so what is the answer?

Perhaps it is fairy tales that come closest -- the tales that begin, "Once upon a time...."

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