Story-telling and truth-telling

Today I want to write a short entry about something I experience but do not understand.

Yesterday (not for the first time) I told my students a story. It was an old story about a pearl, a dragon and a cave.

After I had told it, I thought about the very distinctive, unalloyed pleasure it gives me when I’m telling a story. And I realized something. When I’m telling a story, I feel like I’m telling the truth. Not just ‘a way of thinking’; not just ‘a perspective’; not just ‘a metaphor for something literal’. I feel like something pure and truthful is being given voice by the telling of the story.

I can’t think of anything else I do or say that gives me this feeling of some kind of pure truth coming out of my mouth.

This is not easy to understand. In this postmodern age, it’s not an easy thing to admit. But that’s what it feels like.

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8 thoughts on “Story-telling and truth-telling

  1. Pingback: Story-telling and truth-telling | Birds fly, fish swim

  2. Steve: I have a not dis-similar feeling when I sing. Perhaps this needs to be unpacked a little more through the discussion that the panel didn’t have time to develop yesterday about vocation?

  3. I can’t remember if I’ve shown you this before, or perhaps you have seen it elsewhere. As someone who shares a love of Beethoven I couldn’t resist sending this link. I’ve seen you tell stories and it kind of looks a bit like this to me (even if the stories are not straightforwardly as joyful as the experience of telling/hearing them is)

    • Oh Hannah!
      I haven’t seen this before! What a joy! I’ll never, ever again (as I’ve done before) think that Beethoven didn’t know how to end a symphony; this little boy shows that every little bit of this elongated ending is absolutely right!
      I look like that when I tell a story?! I’m taking my podium and baton (and itchy nose) to my next telling! 🙂

      • all I ask is that if you ever collapse in a fit of rapturous giggles that I am either in the audience, or it is captured on youtube. You may choose.

        PS If not Beethoven (though I am pleased to have offered a reasonable argument in his favour), who is you ‘symphony-ender’ of choice?

      • Symphony-ender-of-choice? Well now it’s Beethoven. But previously I’ve found myself wanting to conduct (with a tent in the background, a podium and an admiring audience) the ending of Symphony No 8 by Dvorak or his Cello Concerto.

  4. I think it is more than vocation Steve, narrative always seems to claim more than just a window onto the world, open for a time before it is shut again. It is not a perspective it is the whole picture presented from beginning to end and given to the audience.
    This is the mystery of giving. The more you give the more you get, we all love giving something. this is why post-modernity might make the most sense but it is no philosophy to live by. It too often leads only to narcissism. the only way to give is via Nietzsche’s superman, which is not giving but imposing from your superior self. The truth must be given. Keep giving…

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