Telling Stories

I'm fascinated by stories.  How they work.  The avenues in which they can be conveyed.  How a dance can create a world or a statue can convey a character and story.  

Personally I have found stories to be avenues for me to see the world in new ways.  To be challenged, inspired, and encouraged.  And they have been places of healing in my own life.  But they have also been places where I have seen destruction occur.  

I have been thinking a great deal about stories as I absorb the news, language, and stories being told during the US elections.  

There is much anger.  Much dehumanizing and critiquing that is meant to undermine and pull others apart.   And it has left me feeling beat up, sad, angry, and depressed. 

I've been thinking of a performance of Freud's Last Session I watched a few years ago.  A fictional story that puts Freud and C.S. Lewis in the same room.  It is a play that explores their ideas in front of a live audience.  Two men who come together from widely different perspectives and talk face to face. There is no 'resolution' in the play. They hold their opinions in the end.  But the audience is left with something.  The audience is left with the gift of watching these two humans see each others humanity.  I remember sitting in the audience watching those around me listen thoughtfully, respectfully as we heard two men on a stage talk and disagree. In front of us was an embodiment of respect and care for those who differ from us.  

Creating art is hard.  Choosing to try to be thoughtful about the projects I do has meant frustration and financial struggle.  

But as I read, watch, and interact with art and stories I am reminded that we all add to the river of culture.  

I see a lot of fingers pointed.  A lot of anger around me.  Blaming and fear.  So much fear.  And it has been easy for me to point fingers as well. To point out all the other people who are wrong and causing problems. To respond with fear and a refusal to see others humanity.  To be unwilling to see where I might be wrong or need to learn or grow.   

And if I fall into the trap of pointing only towards others as the problem I miss out on my responsibility.  That I have choices.  Choices about how I face ways racism has seeped into my life and the privilege I have as a white woman in this country.  Choices about how I see those who are different from me.  Choices about the work I create or work I support that might not provide opportunities for me but opportunities for others stories to be told.   

Art like any part of society can be used for good or harm.  Stories have immense power and capability to help us see one another.  Either in creating language that destroys another human or helps us see someone in their humanity, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. One thing I know is how as a country we are in need of help in seeing one another as people.  Beyond the names to the people behind the name calling and finger pointing.  To create and participate in work that reminds us of the things we all share in - love, suffering, loneliness, sorrow, joy, laughter, tears.  That we can disagree but still care for each other. 

I can't change the world.  But I hope that as I move forward I work to change my own life and the ways I create.  That I would be willing to take risks to grow and learn more about how I can respect and bring life to the stories of those around me.  I have much to learn. And it is not always a journey I want to take.  But in the midst of the harmful stories being told around me I have witnessed stories that have been shared to heal, challenge, and connect. And I am reminded that I want to be a part of that conversation.  That I want to tell stories that add to this practice of listening and seeing one another.   I am one small part of a large country and world.  My passion is stories.  It is one small part of what makes culture and adds to our world.  But I have a choice in the telling of stories.  Of how and the whys behind how I practice and live out this storytelling.   And I want to move in the direction of telling stories that help us listen, respect, love and see one another. 

And because there is much ugly in the news I leave you with a picture of this crazy silly Luna that makes me laugh and wiggles with the best of them.