Tag Archives: non-linear

From Outline to Mind-Map: History and Non-Linear Storytelling

Workers erected the Black Rock monument in 1859. Image from the McCord Museum (Creative Commons).

Establishment of the Black Rock monument in 1859. Image from the McCord Museum (Creative Commons).

History tends to be interpreted in the form of a story with a beginning, middle, and end.  And so as I started to plan out my Goose Village documentary project, I created an outline laying out the area’s history in chronological order.

The shortcomings of this approach were immediately apparent.  Take, for instance, the Black Rock monument.  The rock relates to many periods of history and themes covered by my project, including the typhus quarantine sheds for immigrants in the 1840′s, the building of the Victoria Bridge in the 1850′s, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ annual marches in the present day.  Bones from the mass grave of immigrants have been continually unearthed and reburied near the rock, “a voice arising from the old clay,” as an Irish ambassador referred to them in 1942.  So the Black Rock does not belong to one moment in time, easily wedged into an outline under a single heading, but to a 150+ year period of history and memory.  Continue reading

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