10 May 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Just finished reading the latest from Douglas Coupland, Generation A. You might be aware that Coupland is famous for Generation X, a book that coined the popular term. Generation A is not as groundbreaking as this work, but highly entertaining, and like most of Coupland’s writing, is preoccupied with the concept of “story” as a vehicle for communicating life’s meaning.   A great look at contemporary attitudes toward spirituality, technology and community.

A few meaningful excerpts:

Now you young twerps want a new name for your generation? Probably not, you just want jobs, right? Well, the media do us all such tremendous favors when they call you Generation X, right? Two clicks from the very end of the alphabet. I hereby declare you Generation A, as much at the beginning of a series of astonishing triumphs and failures as Adam and Eve were so long ago. -Kurt Vonnegut, Syracuse University commencement address May 8, 1994 (quoted on inside title page)

How can we be alive and not wonder about the stories we use to knit together this place we call the world? Without stories our universe is merely rocks and clouds and lava and blackness. It’s a village scraped raw by warm waters leaving not a trace of what existed before. (p. 1)

What is prayer but a wish for the events of your life to string together to form a story – something that makes sense of events you know have meaning. And so I pray. (p. 2)

I sat back in my chair, one of those generic black jobs from Staples, and for the first time consciously tried to map out an aloneness strategy for the rest of my life. I had to acknowledge that there’s this hole inside me – I’ve spent my life worrying if people can see this hole. Maybe I should own my hole and be proud of it, even if that sounds disgusting. Maybe I should walk through life slumped over, my face and body reflecting my void. (p. 20)

Stories come from a part of you that only gets visited rarely – sometimes never at all. I think most people spend so much time trying to convince themselves that their lives are stories that the actual story-telling part of their brains hardens and dies. People forget that there are other ways of ordering the world. (p. 169)

10 May 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Chris is a writer and speaker from the Charlottesville area. He regularly serves as a research writer for Docent Research Group in addition to doing some guest speaking.

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