It’s Story Time

Almost every night, just before their bedtime, the kids and I would jump on the recliner and I would read them a story. Dr. Seuss was the favorite author and we made good use of the narrative poems collected by Louis Untermeyer in Story Poems1. Stories were an important part of our lives.

I think that many, maybe most of us, tell ourselves stories in our own minds of who we are, how we have interacted with others in our social environment, how we will interact in the future. We are storyteller, main actor, and audience all in one. Some of us like to do more, finding patterns, similarities, or congruence in those stories. Selecting bright shining ideas and arranging them attractively, telling a new story of a different type to a prospective reader – explaining, bowerbirding.

We tell ourselves stories. We tell our stories to others. Some stories are from memories – experience and perception brought uptime to now. Our stories are us. Other stories are from our imagination, a possible future glimpsed from the present. We become our stories.

Who writes these stories, how do they come to be, why do stories have different and conflicting endings, what happens in the real world when stories conflict, what is the function of stories to the writer and to the reader, why do we hold our stories so dear?

We tell stories, we hear stories, some of us write stories because we cannot stop, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. My stories are projections of myself onto a blank page. They are the equivalent to a Rorschach ink blot test. Expression, exploration, excavation – the archaeology of my mind. Telling stories.

1 Untermeyer, Louis, Story Poems: An Anthology of Narrative Verse Selected and Edited by Louis Untermeyer, Washington Square Press, 1961