Thursday, February 6, 2014

Story in Everything, or Everything in Story?

Within the last two weeks, two students asked you questions about story as it related to you.  Do you, the students asked, see story in everything?

No, you said, but that didn't stop you from trying.  You would be happier yet than you are happy now if you could see story in more things than you do.  You would have to spend less time away from story, less time bored, less time concerned about aspects of reality you in the most generous terms lack understanding of.

Even today, when you arrived a few moments early for your six o'clock class to find it occupied by another class in session, you saw the instructor had come close to filling three large blackboards with mathematical equations.  You stood in awe, gawking at the equations.  Even when you do not understand the language being used or the issues involved, you know story when you see it.  The blackboard was filled with the implications and labyrinthine complexities of story. 

 At least a dozen students sat rapt in their seats, caught up in the implications of things you could only guess at--things the instructor and students related to.

In similar fashion, you have scant ability to read music, less ability yet to read chemistry, nor could you read with any hope of understanding the language of knitters.  In each of these languages, story resides, wishing to cross the boundaries of restriction, then romp into communication.  Not secretiveness nor the hurly burly of buzzwords and secret terminology.  

You have on occasion seen story in such things of apparent remoteness from story as clouds, goldfish, a play marble, a piece of shell, an overripe navel orange, an a mysterious blue Ethernet connecting strip sent you by WalMart with a packing slip reminding you of a purchase you do not recall making, much less any awareness of what this connecting strip could possibly connect.

All about you, there are potentials for story you cannot evaluate.  They might as well not exist because you are not able to see them, although the saving grace is that they may be seen by others who are able to decipher them as significant, enlightening story, which conveys such vital date as creation myth and other cultural beliefs.

There are potentials for story inherent in the gaps between these cultural myths, language, learning, and written narrative.  As well, there are tangible differences between sanity, ignorance, propaganda, and cultural values.

You have come as far as you have because of your ability to see some of the places where story dwells, then make some sense from the story and of the places and times of its origins.  Even  if you were to make no additional discoveries or extract any narrative information beyond what you now have, you would have significance.  See that man over there, frozen in time.  Wouldn't it be of interest to thaw him, see what makes him tick?

Because you see potential for story in your students, you continue to ply the craft of attempting to enthuse them to the mysteries and revelations of story, also to watch closely to see what they're reading now, and what they think of whom.

You attempt to become the occasion of them shifting their youthful focus away from the fantasy and woo woo aspects of composition and into the more direct.  This is because you've come to suspect many of them have found such fractures and sink holes in reality that they wish to create their own worlds of fantasy for escape shelters.

Let them deal with reality first, then go traipsing off to woo woo land and fantastic magic, taking their words from the stories about them as opposed to those invented as a more or less take-it-easy-kid approach to life in general, which is made out to be so abhorrent that the fantasy writer has had to invent a plausible magic, and the way to grow it.

How nice to think of being able to see story in everything.  Then you could focus on structured outcomes rather than random, boring event.

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