Pueblo Storytelling Traditions and Mine
Just read Leslie Marmon Silko’s book Storyteller for the second time.
It is a delightful collection of short stories, photographs, and poetry influenced by the traditional stories of Silko’s Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.
It’s worth two reads because it illustrates how storytelling shapes people, families and whole cultures. The shaping is subtle and sometimes odd. Silko includes a couple of stories that stick in her memory mostly because they don’t make sense, never mind that her auntie or her grandmother told them repeatedly. She pays attention even to the nonsense stories because storytelling in her tradition is considered spiritual, if not sacred.
Without exactly saying it–Silko is more subtle–she implies that “white bread” people, like me, lack a similar deep, storytelling tradition because we don’t pay attention to our stories, nonsense or otherwise. I don’t have to be subtle. I can say it plainly: she’s right.
The book I’m currently working on is about paying attention to family stories because the old stories shape all families–native and white. I’m hoping to add to the discussion Silko has started.
Meanwhile Storyteller by Silko is a good-good read.