Are you a surviving Apostle

Have you ever watched someone destroy his life or the lives of others while judging him according to your own standards? Or perhaps you would not say you “judged” him but you know YOU would NEVER have handled the situation(s) the way he did. On the other hand, could you ever imagine standing by as someone you admire destroys himself and there is nothing you can do about it but tell his story later. In F.Scott Fitzgerald’s GREAT GATSBY (one of my all time favorites), we saw Nick Carroway almost “fall in love” with his neighbor Jay Gatsby, only to witness Gatsby’s life fall apart like a poorly constructed art project. Nick tells readers early in the story that Gatsby had “an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No- Gatsby turned out all right in the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”
In making a surviving apostle the narrator of your tale, the writer has the power to give the characters inner yearnings that they don’t understand and can not deal with cognitively, but told from someone else’s point of view- someone who is directly involved in those characters’ lives. The reader rides along with the narrator but not just as someone looking inside the window,from outside, but as someone right in the middle of the story. The reader, with the narrator, feels what the narrator feels or at least asks the same questions- questions the reader thinks he has already learned. Does the reader REALLY know pain and pleasure and if so, can something be both or neither? Rejecting the common wisdom he thinks he had, the reader will look for answers himself as he follows the narrater through the weaknesses and delusions that have bound people together on the surface while tearing them apart inside. Afterall, aren’t the most painful wounds we have inflicted or had inflicted upon us been the invisible ones- such as betrayal, neglect, abandonment, selfishness.
What better way for the writer to show her readers this than to draw them directly into the story to the house next door where they can see first-hand those betrayals and mistakes taking place as they destroy someone we may judge, dislike or like Nick Carroway, actually admire.

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