The Real World


I’ve been telling stories since I learned to talk, and I have learned in that time that no matter how good a story might be I cannot tell it compellingly or authoritatively until I’m lined up with it. What does it mean to be lined up with a story? You could say that if my mind were a radio I would have to be sure it was tuned precisely to the story’s station. There can be no static, and I certainly can’t be listening to the wrong station. Until I’m tuned in, I cannot hear what I want to hear.

You could also picture a story like a current in an ocean. Sometimes within an ocean’s great heaving, sluggish waters there are discrete, swiftly moving currents. Enter such a current, and it carries you forward with little effort from you. But you must find it first, because water is water whether it’s still or moving, just as thought is thought whether it’s a story or merely a complaint. Sometimes the only way to find movement is to feel it, and then away you go.

Maybe that helps, maybe it doesn’t. The problem is that my mind isn’t a radio, and a story isn’t a current of water. Neither my mind (not brain, but my mind) nor stories exist in that way. In the physical world of things we can touch and feel and see and hear, thoughts and stories and minds are nothing. They are like the recipe for a meal. You cannot eat the recipe. Until it is made, the recipe is just a possibility.

Except as a person I have always existed in two worlds at once. The world of my mind and of thought and of stories has always been as real to me as the world I can touch and see. Maybe more real, which is probably why I got so interested in telling stories as soon as I was able. All that stuff around me I can see and touch is interesting enough, but it’s already been made. What about the recipe that hasn’t been concocted or the story that hasn’t been told? The answer to that question is the only way forward I know. The world through which I move may rot and rust, but the thoughts keep coming new as spring, as life giving as water.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

William KenowerComment