Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sending Something Out

Dudley Cocke, the Artistic Director of Roadside Theatre, once said to Arlene Goldbard:

I always make the proposition that we are the storytelling animal and that language and story has been our selective advantage, and that’s why we’re still sitting here having espresso in the afternoon.

There have always been these contested narratives. If story is how we understand ourselves and understand the world, then there’s always going to be these contests of stories. If one just goes to a neutral mode and isn’t active in telling and trying to search for one’s own story individually and then in group, then somebody else will be there with a story and be there ready to tell your story within their story. It’s like a guy in Choteau, Montana — a dry land farmer — told me: “We got so much incoming. We want to send something out.” ("The Path of Stories")

This one farmer has put into a few words what I have been trying to say for so long -- why it is important to have stories that reflect the particular place you're from, and not just the larger mass media stories. Rural areas have so much incoming, but hardly anyone wants to hear what they have to send out -- not even the people themselves, sometimes, who have come to think that their stories are unimportant compared to what is seen on the news or in the movie theatres.

Surely diversity, when it comes right down to it, is about balancing the incoming and what is sent out.

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