uninvited unveiling


i heard

around the way

that there are only

two stories

ever told

one

“let’s go on an adventure”

and two

“a stranger comes to town”

which can be interpreted

as a different perspective

on the first

one

so

maybe

there is only one story

the one story

and now

research claims

that there are only

six basic shapes

to all emotional arcs

within that one

or those two

story or stories

i tend to push against

the reduction of something 

that i revere as a complex

intricate artistic layered

and human

activity

like storytelling

from an esoteric

form of magic

down to a formula

or a product of big data

i enjoy imagining

that we

and our creativity

are arcane

and recondite

unknowable

impenetrable

but as we get better

at expressing

the most human

attributes of ourselves

on graphs and in equations

i feel this

very silly

and very human

unease

and sense

of impending disaster

marching closer

in the shape of

an uninvited unveiling

because we

are all

on the verge

of being found out

against our will

on the brink

of having our innermost workings

the things that bewilder and amaze us

abstracted and analyzed

to the point of confounding clarity

and i don’t think

most of us want

to know

why

we are

the way we are

we don’t want

to be explained

we want to be understood

a very different thing

but we want to be understood

on our terms

which is why we share our creativity

and we want to connect with each other

but again

on our terms

we don’t want to be simplified

we don’t want to be codified

and for those of us

who love stories

as much

as we love ourselves

this paper

with its tables

and its graphs

so

so many

graphs

it is—

ah…

it feels—

grr…

but—

whatever

anyway

stories

are acts of wizardry

and acts of wizardry

don't really

belong alongside

something

as prosaic

as a graph

although

the paper

does include graphs

with harry potter characters

which was just—

gah…

anyway


musings inspired by "The emotional arcs of stories are dominated by six shapes" by Andrew J. Reagan, Lewis Mitchell, Dylan Kiley, Christopher M. Danforth, and Peter Sheridan Dodds via arXiv