Resetting Three Pieces by Robert Kroetsch

These three passage from two separate articles from Robert Kroetsch’s The Lovely Treachery of Words tell a story about story telling and the English-Canadian experience.

First from “The Exploding Porcupine”

That contribution [Ondaatje’s] is story. But story of a special sort. For if the ceremonies of death are diminished, if we are, in some strange way, archaeologists, grave-robbers, then we must make of that violent act a new kind of story. A story that honours the mystery.

Then from “Learning the Hero from Northrop Frye”

It was Frye who articulated (in every sense) my suspicion that no story can be told only once, that a story to be a story at all must be a retelling of itself, and, at the same time, a retelling of a story that it can no longer be, because of that very retelling. At the impossible centre of this maze of story is the impossible story that once and forever decentres all story into periphery.

And again from “Learning the Hero from Northrop Frye” where Kroetsch contrasts the situations where the American begins in rupture; the Canadian starting ever again in continuity

But at its best, this same unrevolutionary predicament, this absence that destroys the metaphor of birth and its attendant narrative, frees us from the appalling ignorance celebrated by that birth, celebrates instead our life-inspiring decadence. Coming always to the end, we are free, always, to salvage ourselves, not by severance, but by the lovely treachery of words.

A new kind of story deserves a new type of decadence and both turn round the decentring centre. Paradox as productive. Strange expansion from the diminishing of ceremony.

And so for day 380

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