The Nature of Stories

Reading ‘The Storyteller of Marrakesh’ by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya at the moment. Delightful and rich book – so far thoroughly drawn in by it. A wonderful passage at the start of the book which I thought was worth capturing here,

A story is like a dance. It takes at least two people to make it come to life, the one who does the telling and the one who does the listening. Sometimes the roles are reversed, and the giver becomes the taker. We both do the talking, we both listen, and even the silences become loaded.

As a preacher and an avid reader, I know the truth of this. Any story or speech is only a collection of letters on a page or sounds in the air, unless there is an audience who hears and reads, engaging and interpreting, bringing their heart and soul to the dance of the story as it is woven. The resultant movement belongs to both parties and has something of each of them in it, even if only one side speaks or writes. A story heard or read is an event, not a static transfer of information.

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