Our entire worldview and memories are created out of our stories. Two people can witness the same event, process and interpret it completely differently and reach completely different conclusions about what just happened. And that's before the fluid and corrosive effects of memory take hold. The reality of the actual event, even if it was recorded on film, blurs into the past. In its place: Stories, our way of interpreting what we have seen, which is all we have to make sense of what passes before our eyes. ...Read the whole thing. Bransford certainly has a point or two. Stories definitely impact our thought processes, and writers as diverse as C.S. Lewis and Joan Didion have tried to write their way to comprehension of perplexing personal circumstances. But we must remember a salient point: The story isn’t the bedrock of communication. That honor goes to the humble proposition, and it informs the story at every point, sometimes explicit and blunt, sometimes implicit and lurking in the shadows. The actions of your characters, the details of your settings and the machinations of your plot are all freighted with propositions. So is basic communication, as evidenced by the manifold truth claims packed into Bransford's story-extolling essay. But without propositions, no narrative can exist. Conviction comes first. It's truly the father to the tale.
Life is too complicated to hold in your head and relationships are too immense and multi-faceted to easily comprehend. So we write and tell stories to make sense of our relationships and existence. A novel can capture more than we can readily contemplate, and an author can, brick by brick, build a world that can illuminate and give meaning to some part of the full tapestry of our lives and relationships. They help us understand things that are too difficult to think about all at once.
(Picture: CC 2007 by absolut xman)