This blog is focuses on the power of story. That includes the wisdom that comes from paying attention to our family stories. It also includes ways that people put experience into story and how those stories get shaped and used.
Fiction is story that mirrors life. The complexity of human experience can only be expressed as story. That has been true since the start of time or when the first storyteller began the first story, which might be the same.
Parts of this blog include raw material for my memoir, ideas for my fiction and additional musings.
Stories give us wisdom which is better than knowledge and more useful than information. In fact, I’ve come to believe that story is the way we capture wisdom and hold onto it. With that in mind, let me share a few thoughts . . .
Truth gives us no comfort in time of trouble and no sense of direction. For that, you need good stories about how others handled hard times.
Good stories bend the details but always tell the truth. That’s because they’re about larger things.
Small people insist on the truth. Those who intend to live...
I gave my middle finger to a particularly deserving driver and my mother (sitting in the passenger seat) about had a heart attack.
Her generation valued “being a lady.”
Mine decided “ladies” don’t get noticed/make history/climb the corporate ladder/etc. etc. . . . you get the idea.
As a child, I was not supposed to be dramatic. Drama was for others with fewer manners. That was usually phrased as “a less refined upbringing.”
I was to never create a scene. There were better ways to handle...
According to a recent US News report, 86% of the Boomer Generation believes family stories are “very important” and make a more important legacy than money. (see Family Stories, Not Money, Is Best Legacy dated May 21, 2012).
The article by Phil Moeller (@PhilMoeller) notes that when people think about their estates and inheritances, they tell pollsters that passing along personal and family values trumps possessions. Generations younger than boomers generally agree. The findings are part of the 2012 Allianz Life American Legacies...
This photo makes me smile.
I found it in a collection of internet photos. No credit. No explanation.
But TEAPOTS filled with flowers decorating a handrail made me stop flipping through the photos and wonder. Who planted these? Who thought to do that with teapots? Now, that’s a person I’d like to know.
Talk about making the world a little better.
Talk about making a little part of your environment greener.
Better than better, flower filled teapots on a handrail make the world more whimsical. Don’t you feel like making up a...
I’ve just finished a book I’m calling PAY ATTENTION TO THE FAIRY GODMOTHER. Title comes from a twist my grandmother gave the ending of the Cinderella story. At the end of that classic tale, she would sit back and say, “The prince is nice. Nothing better than a fine, handsome prince. But YOU pay attention to the fairy godmother; she’s the one who got things done.”
Here’s the thing. She was my fairy godmother. She made me feel like I was somebody, a princess, capable of anything. I remember the day I bought...
Opened my email this morning and found several suggestions for remembering Mother’s Day–flowers (of course), a BOSE Radio, AirRibs, Godiva chocolates, a Mother’s Wisdom deck of cards (not sure what that is exactly), an Audiobook, and some kind of solar powered dancing flower knickknack. Not going there.
With the recession, supporting the consumer economy is not a bad idea. However, I don’t think we talk enough about the gift economy–the things that increase only when we give them away. Love is the obvious example....
I hiked Glacier National Park last fall, tagging along with Douglas Chadwick, the famed wildlife biologist (see The Wolverine Way). We climbed up and down and all around checking wildflowers and bear sign–great experience
That evening, after we’d kicked back in the Granite Chalet, he shared wolverine stories. Chadwick spent seven years studying mountain goats–not an easy gig. Goats go places humans find impossible. But mountain goats, he’d have me believe, were nothing compared to wolverines. It’s literally...
Saw a bumper sticker at a stoplight today. It said WWJD? I’m not up on my texting terms. Took me a minute–What Would Jesus Do?
Our computer-savy dogs are also engaged in a story that can be expressed in a single line–My Dog Ate My Homework. No further explanation needed.
Narrative is a coherent system of stories, like Biblical stories or Greek myths. Meta-narrative is an understanding so deeply embedded in the culture that you don’t have to repeat the reference. What would Jesus do? printed on a bumper sticker is...
Recent research indicates humans are wired for story.
Keith Oatley, an expert in cognitive psychology and a novelist, thinks stories are like flight simulators. They prepare us for life’s ups and downs the way a simulator prepares a pilot for unseen turbulence.
Steven Pinker, an evolutionary psychologist, similarly thinks that telling stories allowed us to see ahead and anticipate new situations. Those who were receptive to stories therefore had an evolutionary edge.
Anthropologists note that storytelling is almost universal. Children...
Recently a friend pulled photos of her grandchildren from her purse to share. Hadn’t seen that in awhile.
My photos are on my I-phone AND I have video.
Video is everywhere. I’m not sure what that means in terms of family history but it seems significant. Long ago, only wealthy families could afford pictures of themselves. You had to hire a painter, dress-up, do a long sitting. The finished painting, one-of-a-kind, hung in the manor hall. Portraits in those days were of the Lord or Lady–not the children, certainly not the...