The Case Against the Trauma Plot

5 Resolutions To Build Resilience And Rise And Thrive In 2022

It’s been a tough year. Make that: a tough two years. But as you think about what 2022 may bring, know that you can adopt specific mindshifts to help create your best career year yet—and make the rest of your life pretty great, too. 

Nearly everyone “drew down” on social capital during the pandemic as the lack of face-to-face time prevented new relationships and in some cases, weakened existing ones. This year, focus on building it back, even if that means virtually. 

You can’t control everything that impacts you, of course, a fact that the ongoing pandemic and the accompanying shutdowns and disruptions have irrefutably shown. Setbacks happen, and surprising opportunities open up. Luck and serendipity come into play. Recognizing that you cannot control everything—neither your disappointments nor your big wins—is a key part of maintaining stamina for a long, fulfilling career…READ ON

The Case Against the Trauma Plot

t was on a train journey, from Richmond to Waterloo, that Virginia Woolf encountered the weeping woman. A pinched little thing, with her silent tears, she had no way of knowing that she was about to be enlisted into an argument about the fate of fiction.

Trauma has become synonymous with backstory, but the tyranny of backstory is itself a relatively recent phenomenon—one that, like any successful convention, has a way of skirting our notice.

Woolf summoned her in the 1924 essay “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” writing that “all novels begin with an old lady in the corner opposite”—a character who awakens the imagination. Unless the English novel recalled that fact, Woolf thought, the form would be finished. Plot and originality count for crumbs if a writer cannot bring the unhappy lady to life. And here Woolf, almost helplessly, began to spin a story herself—the cottage that the old lady kept, decorated with sea urchins, her way of picking her meals off a saucer—alighting on details of odd, dark density to convey something of this woman’s essence…READ ON

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