Anton Chekhov’s short story, “Grief”, is often accompanied by a subtitle, variously interpreted as, “To whom shall I share my grief?” It is both about the need inherent in human nature to tell one’s story of grief, as well as the cold, unreceptive world which has no time to hear the story.
As the horse-driven cab picks up various passengers and fares, it becomes clear that the audience to whom the father’s grief must be told, is characterized as unfeeling and uncaring towards a man who has experience a tragedy in life. It is thus the search for the proper audience — and how the narration must be told, in the right manner, at the proper time, within the appropriate setting.
That is how all stories must be told, including a Federal or Postal Worker’s statement of disability, as formulated on Standard Form 3112A in a Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is with a heightened sense of sensibility that one must put together the narrative form, with a view towards the audience; what facts and minutiae should be included; with a coherent beginning and an appropriate ending; where to begin and when to end; what details should be included, such that it does not divert one’s attention from the centrality of one’s story; all of this, and much more.
Chekhov teaches us much in his writings; how we apply it in our every day lives is left to the reader — his audience.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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