Telling stories is based on
the premise that we might see things differently, better, more
insightfully, more poignantly, if we slow them down and let them go by
in words, in a process in which the teller of the story has full power
to comment, highlight, embellish, even create new realities that may
never even have actually existed in anything but the teller's
imagination. In fact, the story teller's imagination becomes every bit
as valid a source as a photographic, tape recorded archive of data
created from existing life experience.
Story is also our mutual
imaginings of what might turn out if only something specific would
happen or if someone struggling through the story would be able to
figure something out or accomplish a challenge in time to make a
Story is the living through,
with the story teller, of an imaginary situation, in an effort to
figure what might turn out if only . . .
Story is a way we have of
running back the tape on things that happened to see if we can make
sense of them or tell others the sense we have made of them
Making sense of things
usually involves embellishment with editorials, musings,
Story -- What we perceive of
bits of the world, first hand, or second hand, or even as we imagine
them, from vantage points we occupy, passing through our minds
accumulating parts of us as they go, colors and shades and tones and
sometimes wisdom of our take on things, and escaping out of us with
everything blended together like mixed and risen bread to be shared
with anybody we invite
Story -- the way we
justify a lived life by going back and carefully uncovering glints of
its grandeur. We tell stories to get at the style and the grandeur of
There is a human will to
survive with style and grandeur.' Wynton Marsalis (who tells the story
of telling his family about how he scored a touchdown in a high school
game, how it came out that he ran the ball 105 yards, when in fact he
just fell on the ball in the endzone -- "now that is art, making it
better than it was when it happened." Beethoven's Third Symphony --
"That ws the way he wanted you to hear what he heard."
The lies may distort the data
but in doing so, they help the artist get at wha she/he considers grand
and important, and to share it with others.
Story -- helps writer and
reader collaborate to figure out how today has happened in light of
yesterday and even how tomorrow might dawn.
Story -sharing some part of
the life of the story teller or another and perhaps embellished,
perhaps only shading or shadowing, to justify existence or give meaning.
Story always emphasizes that
it is not so much the event that is significant but how it affects
people who are living through it, or remembering it and trying to make
sense of it.
Story importance -- Anton
Dvorak, dying, impoverished, living in a flat. He had sold all of his
major music for a pittance. Visited by Fritz Kreisler, the concert
violinist who was enamored of his work. Kreisler described Dvorak's
setting as something disheveled as if out of LaBoheme. He asked Dvorak
if he had any new music that Kreisler could play. Dvorak gestured to a
disorderly pile of manuscripts and said he was welcome to thumb
through. Perhaps he could find something there. Kreisler found what
later would be named "Humouresque" a piece that is commonly hummed tho
slightly trivial. (Dum dedum dedum dedum, deDUM de dum de dum de dum de
dum de dum de dum de dum de dum, etc.) The important point is that when
you hear the story, it sets the melody in another realm and you feel
the pathos of Dvorak's decline. Otherwise you dismiss the music.