Tell me a story that will make me feel

I've been quiet lately. Rachelle said recently in a post "I only wish it didn’t take so much time between the experiencing of the thing and the understanding of the thing, don’t you?" That's the gap I find myself in on several fronts these days.

But I did think I'd post some thoughts about story, some of which have been haunting me for almost ten years. Even before I picked up the pen again, I have never ceased to be a lover of stories. (In way of an update, I am writing every day now and working on a project, though I don't feel quite legit enough to show my face at a writing group just yet.)

So for today, here are a couple thoughts from songwriters:

What separates art from other forms of expression is that art shrouds meaning through symbolism, analogy and other means of storytelling. Non-artistic forms of expression, like preaching, simply state 'the way it is' in the clearest possible way. Although an artistic expression and a non-artistic expression may be making the same point, they do it in different ways.

The non-artistic, preaching style is simply 'in your face'. While this has the advantage of being clear, it also gets annoyingly too-obvious, too-clear, too-up front.

That is why we enjoy the artistic approach so much. It is not obvious, but instead, the meaning slowly sneaks up on you, and leaps upon you. That's the moment we've all experienced when we say, 'all of the sudden I GOT it!' That sensation is the feeling of being attacked by meaning.

When someone simply preaches up-front and clear, you can easily turn a deaf ear to it and ignore it. But when meaning attacks you from behind, you are forced to wrestle with it. You think it over, you question it, you take it in. In the end, you must decide what to do with it. And what you do with the meaning you've encountered is a deeper and more willful understanding than you get from simply hearing preaching.

From an essay titled "Art and Explanation" by Aaron Tate,
Caedmon's Call songwriter, 1997

Tell me a story that’ll make me feel
Something far flung but something real
Something that’s human but not depraved
Somebody endangered, but somebody still saved

From I'm Still Here by Don Chaffer, Waterdeep