The shape of stories

But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so rarely tell us the truth in this rise and fall here [indicates blackboard]. The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is. And if I die — God forbid — I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, ‘Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?’

~ Kurt Vonnegut

First, note that by “shapes” he literally means figures, graphs—drawings of the shape of the story.

Second, although I’m unsure wether or not I’m “old,” I am sure that I’m starting to get some perspective. A few posts back I was talking about there being a horizon-of-self: Once my experiences are far enough in the past, I lose any true sense of who that self was. Vonnegut’s point—to me anyway—drives home the fact that I don’t even truly know who I am right now.