Do we write our own stories, or are do they just happen to us? Are we relegated to only being storytellers, or do we participate in the making of the story?
Arthur Frank, in his book, Letting Stories Breathe, asks “how much room does the story grant its characters for multiple, conflicting, and changing expressions of their character?” His implication, at least in part, I suspect, is that stories have lives of their own, separate from the teller and fully in charge of things. He continues “Stories seem fully capable of doing either kind of work: identifying people as fixed to a single motivation line that defines their character, or alternatively, showing the complexity and fluidity of people’s motives.” I like the idea of stories being many things, and changeable, but would advocate for the teller of the story as also the creator (or at least co-creator) of the story, and not merely the teller of story. The richness of the individual life, the sheer volume of a person’s experiences make it impossible to include them all in a single story, but it is in the detailed telling of stories that a person can discover forgotten moments or experiences that can be woven into a story, changing its meaning.