Variations on a Beginning – M. Allen Cunningham [4]

There are many starting points, it seems—memories and anecdotes shaken loose from the narrative I or my folk have constructed, pieces that don’t seem to fit in any one place. For instance, some years ago, my mysterious inability to wear a watch. How the hands would come loose and swing about the dial. Three different watches I tried and, one after the other, returned them all, defective. Always the hands were fixed when I bought a watch, adrift once I’d worn it a day or so.

This, of course, is not a story but merely something that happened, which is different. And I might tell how this mystery passed, how, eventually, I could wear a watch again (I wear one now), but this is not the same thing as a story’s end.

Are we rooted in stories, narratives, anecdotes, or something else? A loose and airy soil. A depository for oddments of all kinds. How do we begin to tell where we came from? The things that shaped us, or seemed to.