February 3, 2022
In spirit us
I just finished reading Martin Shaw’s book Courting The Wild Twin. It’s a small book which totally belies its potency. I tried to slowly savor his writing but that didn’t go well. He’s a compelling writer.
He opens the book by writing that the business of stories is not enchantment. The business of stories is not escape. The business of stories is waking up. In his closing chapter he writes this: As we enter the Underworld, story with its night world potency is the great and painful articulation of our deepest character. Myths are the secret weapon. A radical agency for beauty in the age of amnesia.
In this time of finding ourselves in the Underworld, a rather dark and potentially treacherous place, Martin suggests that we have forgotten who we are and it is the stories and storytellers that must remind us. And yet we are all storytellers. We all hold that radical agency for beauty. We can all engage with the mythic.
And that is such a departure from the increasing tsunami of stories that wash over us every day. Stories of anger and fear and separation. Stories that lack hope. Stories that keep us in the Underworld. Especially in this time of pandemic, many choose temporary relief from stories of enchantment, entertainment, and escape. They can provide a brief respite but they don’t nurture our souls. They don’t deeply inspire us. They don’t wake us up.
Inspiration. The spirit is in us. We have the power to create stories of our lives, great and small, that inspire us to remember who we truly are. Stories that inspire others to that same remembering and awakening.
May we we all kindle the spirit of inspiration. May hope and possibility fly off the pages of our book of life stories. May we embody a radical agency for beauty.
Judith – email@example.com
Fantastic work, Judith! Myth and stories serve us by, as you and Shaw assert, keeping us alert (awake) and reminding us who we are. The quick ways we satisfy ourselves is not nearly enough. While I want the appreciation of stories to be broad, I think we should be careful not to trivialize the form or purpose. When I read about “story with its night world potency,” I thought about stories read to children at night and wondered in a new way why we do that, beyond the practical (it’s the end of day and stories make us tired–do they?). Maybe the nighttime is a special entry into story or the other way around. “We have the power to create stories of our lives, great and small, that inspire us to remember who we truly are.” This is inspiring. Have a reposeful evening, friend.