After over a decade of coaching people from a wide range of backgrounds to compose Life Maps that represent their Life Chapters and Life Themes, I find there are three basic narrative GENRES people might use to reconstruct their Life Stories. Two overarching genres for Life Stories are “Epic Adventure” and “Episodic Adventure,” and within the Epic Adventure category, Life Stories might be represented either as Comic or as Tragic. Comic Life Story narratives arrive at a state of balance or successful survival or resolution from the point of view of the Present (they do not have to be “funny”). Tragic Life Story tales represent unresolved turmoil from a dramatic sequence of situations continuing into the Present. Episodic Life Story narratives—associated with a “picaresque” hero—represent a person’s life history not as a dramatic narrative sequence so much as simply a string of situations or event phases that are not necessarily meaningfully connected to one another.
These three LIFE STORY GENRES, of course, have recognizable frameworks from mythology and literature. Homer’s The Odyssey, with its heroic Odysseus/Ulysses, is a Comic Epic Adventure, as are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and the film version of The Wizard of Oz. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex unfolds a Tragic story cycle. Cervantes’ Don Quixote depicts the picaresque or Episodic adventures of a “man of La Mancha” who serendipitously wends his way through a series of unrelated mishap adventures which have a mix of tragic and comic outcomes along the way.
You can see which LIFE STORY GENRE you currently tend to use in thinking about your own life simply by reading across the sequence of Life Chapter titles you would use to label the meaningful phases—or Life Chapters–of your own life history. Life Chapters can be identified by considering those phases of your experience that have occurred between your most pivotal, Turning Point events. (I invite you to use last week’s Life Mapping Tool for discovering your Life Chapters in order to reconstruct your own Life Story, before proceeding.)
Now then, what sort of Life Story tale does your sequence of Life Chapters relate? Here are a few examples:
Comic Epic Adventure:
Innocence — Turmoil — Enlightenment
Tragic Epic Adventure:
Striking Out — Meeting Obstacles — Over The Rainbow — No Pot of Gold
Chicago — College Years — Arizona — Now
So then, what does your Life Story Genre reflect about the sort of Threshold Experience outlook you currently hold? (See last Friday’s post about being a Threshold Dweller based on reconstructing your Life Story to Now.) How might your Comic/Tragic/or Episodic Life Story influence where you perceive yourself to be “at” in life, or where you appear to be “headed”? I invite you to journal and/or to talk about and/or actively contemplate your perspective about the impact of your reconstructed Life Story genre on your life choices and attitudes.
Reblogged from Theresa at Soul Gatherings:
One often meets their destiny on the way to somewhere else.
At first glance, it may appear too hard.
Look again…..always look again.”
~ Mary Ann Radmacher ~
I welcome your Comments, Insights and Stories that you might wish to share with other life mappers. – Linda