There are six books on my nightstand. I have started reading them all. I pick one up and read a chapter or just a page. Then I decide, "not today/tonight; I want something else." I pick up another and try that. At the cabin there are at least three started-but-not-finished. Only one of these nine is a novel , and it just got "left behind" by accident. Novels are either quick reads that I tear through like an amazing cherry pie or they are like a stew with too much salt -- just pushed aside while I eat the biscuit. The collection of books on my nightstand comprises a poetry anthology, a study of ancient American shamanism , two self-help books on "writing motherhood", a book on calling the circle, and a book called Storycatcher, by Christina Baldwin. I started this tonight. And read aloud to Alex. Its subtitle is "Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story" and it alternates (at least in the first chapter) between telling a story of the author's childhood and talking about the power of story. The weaving of Baldwin's narrative into her "lesson" is effective. Her stories of reading the Bible through a jar of honey or her uncle actually eating his peas with honey, on his knife no less, not only kept Alex intrigued (and shlurping imaginary bee-goo beside me) but make the instructive passages "stick". I guess that is the point of being a storycatcher.
"Story opens up a space between people that is unbound from the reality we are standing in. Our imaginative ability to tell story, and our empathetic ability to receive story, can take us anywhere and make it real. In the act of telling story, we create a world we invite others into. And in the act of listening to story, we accept an invitation into experiences that are not our own, although they seem to be. Story weaves a sense of familiarity. We are simultaneously listening to another's voice and traveling our own memories. We are looking for connectors, making synaptic leaps linking one variation human experience to another. You come with me to the glowing light in the tiny farmhouse study, but you also stream through memories of your own childhood. Who put honey in your heart?"
This is why I read and why I write.