Phil requested that I post a couple of the bits of writing I produced while at l’Abri. I spent some time writing there, trying to rediscover my abilities in a non-work-related context. I wrote several pieces, two of which were read out at ‘High Tea’, a Sunday-evening sharing of creative talents, large and small. 

This piece, Stories, came out of  a conversation with another writer about the voices we use, and where our inspiration comes from. There was also a little bit of an Andrew Fellows lunchtable discussion on the nature of communication in there too…

The 5 sections here were read out by different ‘voices’: myself as the narrator, and then ‘The Philosopher’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘The Poet’, and I don’t have a name for the last one yet!


So, I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of stories.

The other week Mary-Frances read part of a tale I remembered from my childhood. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was still fresh in my memory from parental readings by the bedside, every word, every cadence clearly remembered. But where the tale had in years past elicited goosebumps of excitement, this time it evoked a profound sadness within me. The same tale, the same words. The same build and release of dramatic tension. A completely different result.

That night the man in his twenties heard a different tale to the child not yet ten, and almost certainly a different tale to that conjured by the writer. The same words were used, but the meaning…


So, I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of stories.

What are these things that we write, these narratives and polemics and treatises? We take the barest form of words, the very seed of an idea within our minds, and as it flows onto paper some transformation occurs. By some strange miracle the thought is encapsulated within the strictures of language; held fast to the page by alphabetal bars.

And yet, these few thoughts, while held securely for a moment, leap from the page into the mind of the reader; and what then? Can the words on the page be said to be the writers meaning? And can that meaning be understood by the reader? What life do our words have once they pass from the confines of our minds to page, to reader, to speaker, to hearer?


So, I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of stories.

Is it possible for our words to exist beyond the medium through which we communicate them? How is meaning shaped by the media through which it passes?

The synapses of my brain fire, creating. My fingers move to translate those impulses into a new medium, one of symbology. Those symbols contain something, locked securely, until the eyes of another perceive them and translate their mystery into the synaptic firing of their own mind.

Can the story exist beyond the confines of the skull of writer and reader? Without those crucial electrical impulses, what is there?  And if its existence is in doubt, then what of those symbols on the page? What are they?


So, I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of stories.

I write. Another reads. Another hears.

What is conveyed?


So, I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of stories.

My brain hurts.


One thought on “Stories

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