You Always Start ‘In Medias Res’

The image is of the quote "You Always Start in Medias Res", which will be discussed in the article. The background is a dark aqua watercolour, and the typeface is Futura in white with 'in medias res' underlined.

“You always start in medias res

I’m listening to, obviously, Cloudbusting by Kate fucking Bush.

Firstly, in medias res is Latin, and the phrase means “in the midst of things”. It’s usually used to describe a narrative that either starts in the middle of the story, or, as in the actually story titled ’23 Different Jobs’, puts the reader into the action, without context, providing context along the way.

In a way, if I’m being super esoteric and metaphorical (read: a stoner), I’d say we all start life in medias res. Our parents are sort of existing in their own stories, and then we come along in the middle of their lives, so to speak, and just join it. And I suppose, by that weed-y logic, they’d be the same in their parents’ stories, and their parents’ etc. Right? Is that a strange way to see things? Probably.

I think that “in the midst of things” can have a different kind of metaphorical meaning.

I think everyone is always in the middle of something. Like, if you see me at any point in the day, I’m probably at work, have work to do—I’m in the middle of doing something. We’re all working on ourselves in the same way. Aren’t we all just in between crises, of both the good and bad variety?

So, maybe another way to read this quote, instead of “you always start in the middle of the action”, it could be something broader, like, “you always start in the middle of something”. Living is just in the middle of birth and death, no?

Comment below with your favourite Latin quote and what it means. I love incorporating elements of ancient history into my stories, and I envision a story being inspired by a quote—sort of like 23 Different Jobs (the story and therefore the book) was.