Before starting to deconstruct parts of the dynamic storytelling act and mapping story-work traits with the help of story practitioners, there is one more issue I believe we need to look at on the meta-level and that is the part of the witness – more often related to as listener and audience. It is important to remember the storyteller is a witness too. Yes, we can experience ourselves from outside while being fully engaged in the telling (but we need at least one witness besides ourselves for that…).
Why do I call this part ‘witness’? Because it’s not only about listening and not only about listening to the plot; the witness is there to validate the existence of a story which happens only inside them. If they are not there, we wouldn’t know.
The five witnessing spaces (I’m not sure about the word spaces yet)
#1 I witness the events of the story
#2 I witness the ways the events of the story influence me
#3 I witness what is happening around me – the room, the people, the time, events happening in the background
#4 I witness the ways in which what is happening around is influencing me
#5 I witness my inner self, my existence
The accumulation of weak measurements – experience based knowledge
I didn’t find the old box I once had with cogwheels and pencils to draw spirals. Did you have one of those? What captivated me about that activity was the way certain lines became closer. If I continued to rotate the cogwheel with the pencil over the finalized spiral again and again, those parts became so dense the entire spiral became sealed; you couldn’t tell the lines from each other anymore.
That’s the way I see the accumulation of practical knowledge in storytelling both for tellers and listeners (messengers and witnesses). This knowledge cannot be fully acquired through learning about it – you need the mental, emotional and somatic experience.
Some time ago I saw a program about experienced firefighters being able to predict a sudden shift in a fire event, calling their people to move out before catastrophe strikes. The interviewer asked the firefighter “how did you know this was going to happen?” the firefighter witnessed the existence of accumulated experience that creates practical wisdom – if you’ve seen certain ‘symptoms’ connected to certain outcomes enough times you’re not guessing anymore really. You already know what will most likely happen although it might not. On the other hand – you couldn’t know about it getting the explanation from a firefighter – you would have to actually be there again and again.
So as it seems, everybody is very busy when storytelling takes place. Reading notions about storytelling being a ‘passive’ platform I find them rather ridiculous. BTW, the story-text is busy too – changing.