A great storyteller – whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator – helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.
Susan Sontag once said that “reading sets standards.” Storytelling not only sets standards but, at its best, makes us want to live up to them, to transcend them.
A great story, then, is not about providing information, though it can certainly inform – a great story invites an expansion of understanding, a self-transcendence. More than that, it plants the seed for it and makes it impossible to do anything but grow a new understanding – of the world, of our place in it, of ourselves, of some subtle or monumental aspect of existence.
At a time when information is increasingly cheap and wisdom increasingly expensive, this gap is where the modern storyteller’s value lives.— Brain Pickings
If you spend enough time reading or writing, you find a voice, but you also find certain tastes. You find certain writers who when they write, it makes your own brain voice like a tuning fork, and you just resonate with them. And when that happens, reading those writers … becomes a source of unbelievable joy. It’s like eating candy for the soul.
And I sometimes have a hard time understanding how people who don’t have that in their lives make it through the day.— David Foster Wallace
Word for thought
You’re itching to be on your own. You don’t want anybody telling you what time you have to be in at night or how to raise your baby. You’re going to leave your mother’s big comfortable house and she won’t stop you, because she knows you too well.
But listen to what she says:
When you walk out of my door, don’t let anybody raise you – you’ve been raised.
You know right from wrong.
In every relationship you make, you’ll have to show readiness to adjust and make adaptations.
Remember, you can always come home.
You will go home again when the world knocks you down – or when you fall down in full view of the world. But only for two or three weeks at a time. Your mother will pamper you and feed you your favorite meal of red beans and rice. You’ll make a practice of going home so she can liberate you again – one of the greatest gifts, along with nurturing your courage, that she will give you.
Be courageous, but not foolhardy.
Walk proud as you are,
Maya— Maya Angelou: Letter to her younger self
“Faux Feminism”: bell hooks Calls It Like She Sees It