It would be more truthful to call this the middle, since we’re just now about halfway through laying down the bones of blocking and interpretation, but writers do tend to start in the middle. Anything earlier and you run the risk of death by exposition, which is the literary equivalent of death by overexposure.
I’d like to avoid that, so this is my beginning. I’m Kathryn, and people call me Katie, Kate, and sometimes Ryn because I ask them to. I’m really quiet until you listen because I’m New York Neurotic and I’m always moving, and sometimes I can tell that what I read bleeds into my writing because it’s only been two paragraphs but I already sound a little like Rachel.
I’ve been thinking a lot the last two weeks about how My Name is Rachel Corrie is structured as a play; how it’s a frame tale within a frame tale and just how much Rachel herself thought in terms of narrative and the relationship between form and content.
Rachel is someone who wanted to leave a mark more permanent than writing on her world, and yet so much of what she does is surprisingly happenstance and coincidence. She’s never entirely sure how she gets from any one point in her life to any other, and yet what happened to her seems inevitable simply because we know it happened.
There’s a danger in sentimentalizing the text by drawing what we know about Rachel’s story and infusing our own ideas about her symbolic meaning into her representation. I don’t want my interpretation of Rachel to be symbolic, nor do I want to weigh her down with heavy-handed attempts at hyperrealism. I want to let the text speak for itself.