Telling Stories, Finding Courage

“Remember on this one thing, said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.”

–Barry Lopez, from Crow and Weasel

Think about the stories that have most engaged you, stories that make you cry or laugh or long for change. Stories carry life and stories change us. All of us have stories we want to tell. Telling our own stories gives us understanding of our own lives, helps us to live deeply and to create meaning. If you allow it to, the story reading and writing unit you are embarking on now will help you learn to tell a realistic story about the important issues of your life as you see it. During our study, you will learn several ways to tell your story so it communicates powerfully. Writing your story in a way that feels meaningful to both you and others is challenging and requires courage. You will need to think about how to structure the story so you can reveal the events and themes powerfully. If you dedicate yourself to the process, and are willing to submit yourself to the discipline that exploring your imagination through writing requires, ideas begin to emerge. The task can be freeing and rewarding. As Barry Lopez says, “Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.”

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