Story Dynamics – Stories » 2009 » December

In the Darkest Times, Stories Remind Us…

Here at my home near Boston, we just had our first major snowstorm. The nights are long now and the days are cold.

Given how dark and cold it feels, it’s easy to ignore the solstice, which occurred without fanfare yesterday at 5:45 pm. Nothing flashy happened. It was dark before 5:45; it was dark afterward. And, after all, the solstice happens every year.

But the solstice can be a reminder that events go in cycles, undulating like waves. And story can be a powerful reminder…

Three Paradoxes of Story Meaning

In storytelling, paradoxes abound.

In every case of paradox, we need to notice not just the effect we intend to create, but also the potentially opposite effect.

Continuously noticing the effects of our storytelling like this is demanding and sometimes unsettling. But it can also help our telling.

This article looks at three paradoxes that concern meaning – and how they might affect our storytelling.

The Spark of Your Story Fire

Imagining is the most important storytelling skill. If you cannot imagine a story, then you have nothing to communicate.

The words of a story are much less important: they are just a medium through which you stimulate others to imagine. In this sense, words are like a fireplace: the container that shapes the fire and makes it efficient, not the fuel that burns.

But, in another sense, imagining is the act that puts you in contact with the unknown…

The Golden Key

(An “imagination teaser” from the Grimm brothers, referred to in one of my newsletter articles, “The Spark of Your Story Fire.”) It was winter. The snow was on the ground, and the boy had to go out and haul in firewood on his sled. And when he gathered and loaded it up, he was so [...]

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