Columns | Data

How We Create Personal Myths, and Why They Matter

My parental separation was vastly less traumatic than what is happening to children at the border. But this narrative lives inside me.

This isDATA, a column by Angela Chen on numbers, nerdery, and what it means to live an evidence-based life.

You always want to make everything ugly.


It didn’t take long for Morgan to become frustrated with my suggestions. She wanted our hero to have more powers; I wanted her to be more ordinary. She wanted each interaction to be a Chekhov’s gun that would have meaning later; I stripped out the heavy symbolism and inserted meaningless scenes. I was forever undoing Morgan’s work, changing eyes from “emerald” to “green,” skin from “creamy” to just . . . skin.

You always want to see things in the most plain way possible,

Well,I don’t like all this narrative and symbolism.Things ugly and meaningless.

The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self.

New York Magazine