Stories are how we make sense of the world.
Without stories, all the world is science — which isn’t a bad thing. Science is the miracle by which we exist. But, on its own, science is simply the observation of cause and effect.
Meaning is created when cause and effect are translated into stories.
Stories are how we connect with others and ourselves. They are the context and the frame by which we make sense of the world around us. And it’s important to note that stories are rarely, if ever, true.
And they don’t need to be.
In fact, the best stories aren’t true because they are metaphors distilled down to archetypes that nearly anyone from any culture can pick up, understand, and reflect on.
- The Three Little Pigs
- Little Red Riding Hood
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf
- Hansel & Gretel
Not a true story in the bunch despite the fact that all of them are stories telling a truth.
This is an important distinction to make when writing — one I tried to capture in the following poem:
So what does this mean?
It means that when telling a story, you must choose to either:
- Be factually accurate
- Create a frame for meaning
Both options are valid, depending on the circumstances and your reason for telling a tale.
So how do you know which option to choose, and when to choose it?
I’m glad you asked.
TO BE CONTINUED