The location of stories

Cath and I have escaped to a caravan for the week to complete the writing and rehearsal of a new idea i’m working on around ‘creativity, co-creation and agility‘. We’re running a workshop in two weeks time that will cross over between music and learning, using the creative and co-creative processes of music to explore wider applications in organisational social learning and storytelling. I’ll be doing the talking, she’ll be doing the playing: it’s still a work in progress, but i’m excited to see where it goes. Even if it falls flat on it’s face, at least we’ll have learnt something.

Being isolated in a caravan is all well and good, but you do go a little stir crazy, so we escaped for a walk this afternoon. As we walked, we shared stories. I grew up spending all my holidays here: we played in the sand dunes, invented worlds and games that immersed and engaged us for weeks on end. These stories are embedded in this landscape for me. Each step is familiar: i know each road, hedge, field and dune.

Stories convey meaning: we’ve been exploring stories in our design work today, looking at how the stories conveyed in songs are affected by the music behind it: play Jolene as 45rpm on a turntable and it tells one story, play the same vinyl at 33rpm. The words are the same, but the context is different. The layers of meaning add up to create the experience.

Our memories of stories can be triggered by places: our first kiss, the first time we ever met, the last time we ever saw someone, our first job, the most beautiful place you’ve ever been. Stories are tied up in geography, intensely personal, persisting over time.

The location of stories

Stories may be written in books, carried in song, captured in paint or held within the tribe: they can be recorded in stone or on DVDs.

We greet each other by sharing stories, asking about the weather (if you’re British), discussing the delays on the train, sharing a little piece of our lives through short stories. As we know each other better, we share deeper, more personal stories that leave us more vulnerable: putting a little of ourselves into the telling and retelling. We invest ourselves in stories that run throughout our lives.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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13 Responses to The location of stories

  1. David says:

    The connection to places is why it is so hard to leave the house in which you were raised. Or worse see it destroyed by fire or demolition. The physical material stuff can be replaced, but the stories and the meaning are not physical. Which always raises an interesting question. If they’re not physical what are they? To the degree that stories convey meaning, telling them is relational instead of transactional. This is why stories are so important for education.

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