Welcome to Storywise
THE LATEST THIS REPUBLIC OF STORIES
To suggest that there can be mental and emotional scars on the psyche that are like the physical wounds on the body is a great act of imagination, even a great metaphor, but it seems that the metaphor has migrated as Susan Sontag was wont to point out, into a specific illness. Sontag wrote that cancer became a metaphor and we are asserting this is a metaphor that has became an illness, and this metaphor has metastasized.
As a young boy growing up in war torn Gaza, you learn pretty quickly that life is precious and fragile. I am 28 now, and a graduate of Gaza University, a soccer player who played for Palestine and a coach, and I am excited to be beginning my graduate studies in Istanbul. But most Gazans of my generation never leave their childhood behind because, between the ages of 10 and 21, we had to survive three wars. Surviving meant coming to terms with death, making friends with our mortality. Read More
Irish Aunties and Funerals
My Dad was the proud son of Irish immigrants to Australia and so, growing up, we had our encounters with our maiden Irish Aunties, Great Aunties actually, Tessie and Lilly. I remember my sister Jenny and myself visiting them in darkened, stale smelling rooms in dilapidated Ipswich mansions, and being encouraged to perform. “Sing for your Auntie Tess.” “Play piano for your Auntie Lilly.” It struck terror in us so stark that it defined the darkness. Why were they always dressed in black? Someone had died, and that is how they remembered their role as mourners, to not smile for a year. Read More
SHOWING UP IN YOUR OWN STORY
We get so tied up in the Why or the How. We forget a far more important question- Where? We start with WHERE. Even that word “question” is loaded with the same insight because it contains a “Quest,” which wikipedia calls “a long or arduous search for something.” To ask a question is to be going somewhere. Read More
RETURNING TO GRACE
“Thanksgiving for me is less about life’s gifts- less about a Hallmark card…..It is reminding ourselves of the fact that we are privileged enough to live long enough to know we are alive. “ Read More
“If language no longer carries the public truth,
it no longer can build the public trust.”
LACK OF TRUST
Our traditional repositories of stories are under fire. There is a lack of trust and belief in education, law, the church, Wall Street, police, government, big business, and the media. Without this trust and belief, the social fabric becomes threadbare. How can we rebuild trust? By deciding to tell better stories, and committing to creating new stories. New and more ennobling stories are needed, and they need to be created by those who understand how story does its work.
THE DYNAMICS OF STORY
For over 20 years, Storywise has focused on narrative dynamics and sought to build a better understanding of how and why stories work. Using this understanding, we teach people to enact a narrative ethics that assumes everyone has a story, and every story needs to be heard, and to build these practices into every negotiation, or mediation, or program of change.
THE SKILLS WE TEACH
Our core focus is helping everyone explore how story works and how to work stories. Through our seminars, we help participants decipher story codes, genres and patterns to discover emerging meanings. We teach how to seek out the ghosts of dead or forgotten stories in a culture. We examine how public stories are scripted and shape our perceptions and decisions in unconscious ways. Raising the level of our narrative consciousness enlarges the domain of choice for us as both citizens and consumers, because capitalism has become more and more the “manufacture and selling of stories.”
Storywise has always seen itself as a form of consumer protection. No story is innocent. When we buy harmful stories, we put our economy at risk, our earth in peril, and greatly reduce our chances to live humanly harmonious lives. In war zones, stories are as much weapons as guns and bombs. As a citizen, we need to be vigilant, always asking “What story am I being sold now, and why do they want me to buy it?” As a wise man once said, ” Beware the breathless salesperson!”
A NEW NARRATIVE LITERACY
It is no longer enough for people to learn how to read and write. They have to learn a new 21st century narrative literacy that empowers them to know when a story is nothing but manipulation, when a story invites them to conspire in their own self-diminshment, or when stories are mean and demeaning.
Knowing how to better read and interpret a story’s intentions allows us to choose, and to escape the thrall of media hype, political demagoguery and headline news that assumes we cannot ever think for ourselves.