Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stories are Metafictional . . . or are we less 'meta'?

The NYT asks Mohsin Hamid, "How Has Parenthood Informed Your Writing Life?" (June 10, 2014), and he recounts a recent real-life interaction with his daughter and the lesson learned:
Dina specifies her nightly bedtime-story-on-demand.

Dina: Tonight I want you to tell me a story about . . . a story.

Mohsin: A story about . . . a story?

Dina: Yes.

Mohsin: There was a story. And it was very lonely. Because there was no one to hear it. So it went for a walk in the forest. . . .

(His daughter has just reminded him that all fiction is metafiction, that humans are born with the instinct to experiment with form.)
Great story beginning! And a good reminder! I recall making up stories for my kids when they were little, and they were always so caught up in the stories that they didn't distinguish between story and reality. Stories about "the bonies"' scared them, and the story about "The Bad Little Boy" had my son insisting, "En-Uk good boy!"

So, yeah, most stories are metafictional - or, rather, we, who tell and listen to stories, are less 'meta' than we think . . .

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