“A narrative models not only a world but the minds seeking to give it its meaning” (27).
Narrative is humanity’s way of working out her over all issues; insecurities, anger, and confusion; She is working out the unknown through narrative. Stories are cultivated through circustances, arguably circumstances ‘unforseen.’ A story must be unexpected. “Stories are culture’s coin and currency” (15).
The ideas about what makes a story a story makinsg me think about the growing popularity of podcasts. In my Spotify account, I follow twenty-six different titles, but I keep up with eight of them. Many of the stories that I listen to teach me new perspectives about how other people live. On an episode of the podcast, Here Be Monsters, ”Fate’s Notebook,” which is produced by KCRW, a woman describes her struggles with her inheirted religion, Santeria, after her younger sister comitted suicide, and her brother’s sudden death. She struggled with the instructions from her father who was devoted to the religion, to take care of both siblings. Even as he was on his dealth bead, his instructions about how to care for his children, but he never warned her of the sudden deaths that were to come, and then began the woman’s conflict about Santeria’s power.
Sometimes stories are anectdotes for how to deal with some awkward situation, like a date that doesn’t go well, or finding humor in a friendship that has taken an unfriendly turn. Recently, I went on a date in Little Tokyo and while walking towards the stop light, to cross the street as it was changing, my date took off running to catch the light, leaving me behind. I eventually caught up to him once the light was green, and he told me, “That’s a cringey thing that I do.” I guess it’s funny now, but I didn’t know what to say in that moment. Then I thought, “Is this the kind of awkwardness in a man I will always be OK with?” Stories could be warnings about ridesharing, like the college student in South Carolina who mistakenly got into a car she believed was her Uber pick up, and as a result she lost her life to a murderer.
Bruner’s book brings about a new skeptisim around what stories actually seek to accomplish, even the ones that I tell to other people. It’s hard to come to terms with my own subtle embellishments of the truth in a story, or the varying octave changes to make a story more interesting or exciting. What version of myself am I trying to project, or whatever version of himself or herself is another trying to project to me when they are telling a story? I am sure we all want our best side to show, but what about those people who are stuck in the narrative that shows their darker, angrier, less empathetic side. Narrative about “the other,” “the immigrant,” is routenly less empathtic in comparrison to the strugges of born United States citizens, or those who gained citizenship years after coming to the country. Seen as theives and those who are taking resources from citizens, immigration creates a narrative that a natural, or a monetary resource is a symbol of priviledge, and in a sense it is because many people do not have access to stable employment, nor acess to clean enough water for consumption. Stories are too a way that we cope with things that we don’t quite understand. In Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, the section on orgin stories talks about the stories that past generations used when they did not understand dealth and what happenes after the burial ceremonies. Stories of the afterlife (Heaven and Hell, or Purgatory, or Reincarnation) remind me that the temporary life we live is not over once our bodies expire. We might transition to another demension, and work out a second life there, or we might even cease to exist after we’ve accomplished our task(s) here on earth. These types of stories help us to reationalize what was prviously unknown to us, or what is still unknown but we have created some story or some idea to give greif solice.