Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Origin Story

The family lore is that my younger brother took his first steps as a toddler when he let go of the stereo console in the living room.  He'd been peering in at the record going 'round and 'round, turned and, grinning, wobbled a few steps and fell.  His defining moment.  His origin story.  Mine is this: my younger brother took his first steps as a toddler when he let go of the stereo console in the living room.  He'd been peering in at the record going 'round and 'round, turned and, grinning, wobbled a few steps and fell, and I wonder whether this is true or whether it's familial myth or if that even matters, if whether stories we tell about the family matter because they happened or because they have the richness of fiction, its possibilities and playfulness and contrivances, its funny endings and thoughtful themes, because they take root and grow, propagating in all manner of random urgencies, story-seeds flying and landing and nourishing in surprising places to grow even stronger and brighter next year.  Beauty no less valuable, no less useless. My brother's forever turning, forever grinning, forever tumbling—whether it happened that way or not, he's stilled in that version of events.  He's told.  A story lingers because it matters, whether it occurred as the calendar does or inside an imagined truth that speaks no less accurately.

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