May. 3rd, 2010

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I really believe that myths, fairy tales, religious stories and invented myth cycles all come from the same place inside us, the need for narrative, the need to make sense of our place in the world and the cosmos, to pin us in history, to make sense of our history and our future. but also to help us work out our emotions our personal connections, they are often human emotions writ large with broad brushstrokes, they become a vicarious way of dealing with and understanding our own life events.

one of the most memorable, powerful events of my life was when one of my lectures told me the Greek nightingale myth

philomela )

she was an excellent storyteller and she told it vividly and powerfully and it rocked my world, i was going through a hardcore healing phase at that point in my life and this story held so many truths for me, about the power of men to rape women and then silence them, about women supporting each other (and i think the servant woman is often overlooked in this story but to me she is the lynchpin, without her there would have been no transformation) about the use of art to reweave fractured wounded narratives, about the absolute necessity of reweaving fracture wounded narratives for transformation/healing to be able to happen. And at the end how everything doesn't get mended, how not everything is savable, but transformations and some measure of healing is possible

and it doesn't matter that it didn't happen, or that if some of it did happen, it didn't happen the way it is told, like it doesn't matter that there never was a hobbit called frodo who went on a long perilous journey, and that fiver and hazel never crossed the landscape I grew up to to find a safe place to live, it doesn't matter that red never walked through the forest to grandmas house. Going out on a limb here, I dont even think it matters weather Jesus did all the things he is said to have done, whether he actually rose from the dead physically or not. All these stories contain types of truths for me because they help make sense of my experience and emotions and give me frameworks to hang my own life naratives on. Truth in story telling is not the same as truth in history or science. Truth in story telling is about symbols and metaphors that resonate with us about having places to pour our pain and anxieties, having places that help us explain being human, having communal narratives that help us understand the shape of the world as we live in it


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October 2010

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