The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

The Abstraction of Stories November 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joel @ 5:42 am

I am getting ready to play the second to last show of our wee tour of the east coast.  It has been a good experience and one that I do not in the least regret.  Here are some simple reflections on it.

First, for those who are reading that do not know what I’m doing.  I and 8 other gifted artists are traveling the eastern US seaboard performing two different shows.  One is called “The Filid” and is an artistic and liturgical rendering of faith grounded in the past and stretching towards the future; the other show is called “The Family Band” and is a musical forum by which we, the 7 musicians present, support one another’s songs both musically and critically as we seek to make our songs better.  That’s what we’re doing.

So, reflections.

I am amazed at both the communicability of stories and the abstraction they give to a social setting.  While a story can bring people together, I have come to realize that it can also polarize people as well as make plain the distance that actually lies between each other.  As we’ve toured with the Filid, which makes much use of story, I have noticed this fact of abstraction and I am troubled by it.  Perhaps I am troubled by it because of the distance it proclaims between me and mine and you and yours.  But perhaps it is because it brings me face to face with story and its power.  For it is only something so powerful as a story that could both universalize and particularize to the extent to which I have been talking.  It is fearful and dramatic, it shakes my bones, it takes my breath and hides it under the bed.  Every proclomation lies hidden in my mouth and I no longer want to let it out.

For I can speak wrongly, I can speak with such a small amount of wisdom that you would not believe.  This frightens me, this capacity in me not only to tell a story but to tell a bad story!  I feel like the person who sees a bank robbery and is looking around at others, wondering why they don’t also see it.  I am looking around at artists saying, “don’t you see!  we are beholdent to God for the things we say and sing! Beware my friends, beware!”  I am deeply worried that I am not the songs I sing nor can my heart bear the weight of the words I purpose to utter.

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One Response to “The Abstraction of Stories”

  1. Al Mason Says:

    This posting is too abstract for me 🙂

    see companion joke in your email


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