Fragments, crumbs, and crazy glue
Couple of years ago, I came across Joan Didion’s White Album essay. She talked about a time in American history that turned everything on its head. The essay was written few years after the actual events took place. Yet, she was still processing what happened. And the part that got me was the fragmentation of the narrative. Or “a story without the narrative” as she calls it.
At the time, I was complaining about people giving me a bunch of pieces and asking me to put the “story” together. It was like someone dumped a bunch of puzzle pieces on my lap without the image on the box and demanding that I give them a brilliant finish “product”. No details, no direction. All I could do was to wait, crazy glue in hand, for the puzzle of the day. Puzzle that had nothing to do with the previous day’s or the next day’s or any other day’s. Day by day, the puzzle pieces got smaller and smaller while requirements for a smashing finished product got more and more complex.
Our personal lives are a mirror image of the world around us. The “fragments” issue is a societal one. News cycles that last enough time to be typed in 280-characters before the next ones happen. New apps and new technology being invented on a daily basis and making the previous day’s obsolete. Attention spans reduced to about 3 seconds – just enough time to read only the 280-characters. The fragments have become crumbs. Tomorrow, subatomic particles. Next day, who knows?