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The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary LifeTales from the Coffee Shop$
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William L. Randall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930432.001.0001

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Medium with Milk

Medium with Milk

Setting the Scene

(p.18) Chapter 2 Medium with Milk
The Narrative Complexity of Ordinary Life

William L Randall

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets the scene for the rest of the book by offering a more detailed description of everyday coffee shop life, which is, in effect, the book’s main setting, the place where it was written and by which so many of the insights in it were inspired. In particular, the author describes his writing life within the coffee shop, insofar as being “a writer” is one subplot in his own life story. The description of coffee shop life is thickened still more by recounting and reflecting on a few of the odder interpersonal exchanges that one can have in such a setting. This serves to illustrate how, day in and day out, we are forever generating storylines—or “storyotypes”—about one another’s lives, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, and to show as well how our lives and our stories are continually intertwined.

Keywords:   setting, storyotyping, writing life, compassion, narrative foreclosure

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