Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday: The Value of Storytelling


I haven't been reading much except blogs and online articles lately, but I found some quotable lines in this article from Salon.com:

The evolutionary argument for Dr. Seuss: Why do we often care more about imaginary characters than real people? A new book suggests that fiction is crucial to our survival as a species
by Laura Miller

Her opening sentences really hooked me:
Why do human beings spend so much time telling each other invented stories, untruths that everybody involved knows to be untrue? People in all societies do this, and do it a lot, from grandmothers spinning fairy tales at the hearthside to TV show runners marshaling roomfuls of overpaid Harvard grads to concoct the weekly adventures of crime fighters and castaways.


Miller's article is actually a review of a new book called On The Origin of Stories by Brian Boyd, professor English at the University of Auckland. This is a subject of endless fascination to writers, especially those of us who write popular fiction which has its roots in mythology and fairy tales. Popular stories are timeless and, despite their fantastical elements, sometimes reflect reality. Miller mentions the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf', something we've all witnessed in real life, and which I believe led to the familiar dictum "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

I really enjoyed the first part of the article, but will admit to getting a little lost toward the end, maybe because I wasn't a lit major or maybe because I don't know much about "evolutionary biology". (My B. A. is in Social Science with emphaisis in History.)

I didn't write anything new this week, so I'm going to pull a few sentences from a published e-book, Ilona's Wolf, my first erotic fantasy story.
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Velosia, magic was more precious than gold. The few who possessed it were highly prized, for not everyone could learn to wield the magic, only those who were sorcerers born.

Please forgive the blatant self-promotion, but I'm including a buy link, and there's a longer excerpt at my website.

Linda / Lyndi

Check out the wondrous Women of Mystery blog for more Two Sentence Tuesday posts.

9 comments:

David Cranmer said...

No worries because if truth be told we are all about blatant self-promotion. "Sorcerers born" really stood out in your two sentences and I will click over to read more at Salon from the always engaging Laura Miller.

Linda McLaughlin said...

The need to promote goes with the job description whether we like it or not.

Teresa said...

I enjoyed your writing and the writing by Laura Miller. Thanks for sharing, Linda.

Clare2e said...

I concur that "sorcerers born" is a nifty turn of phrase and that promoting your work is not only okay, but desirable. How else do the rest of us find new things to read?

Scott Parker said...

Loved your twofer as the idea--not everyone can perform magic--is a theme of my first steampunk/fantasy thing I'm starting. I'll check out your other NSFW material when I'm home...

Leah J. Utas said...

"A Once Upon A Time" opener has me.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Teresa, Clare, Scott and Leah, thanks for dropping by and for the kind words. I love the "two fer" posts.

Barbara Martin said...

Storytelling began when there was no writing, only memories by those who listened and then retold: sometimes with embellishments.

Linda McLaughlin said...

That's very true, Barbara, and it's also how popular music started, with songs passed from one generation to the other or introduced to a new group by wandering minstrels. It's easy to forget in our modern cyber world that in the past many, many people were illiterate. Thanks for dropping by.