It started in Chicago, on the magnificent mile as they call it, that area of the city with a couple of buildings that survived the Chicago fire. Lookingglass theatre makes its home in one of the buildings. The Raven Foundation (do visit this wonderful group @ ravenfoundation.org) invited us to join them for Mary Zimmerman's adaption of the stories in ARABIAN NIGHTS. At the heart it's funny, scary, foreign, with actors jumping, brandishing knives, carrying baskets, making love and more. And it is about the power of narrative to heal, to transform, to be a tipping binary for violence.
Two weeks later the feast was Barbara Brown Taylor. Hearing her is something like being a lover of cars who gets to drive the Lambhorgini. She poke of Kathryn Harrison's book, While They Slept, the story of a family's murder at the hands of their eighteen year old son. He and his sister had been victims of violent abuse throughout their lives. The sister's escape over the years had been Harlequin novels. Here she had found a different world. Here she learned how more normal people lived, what manners entail, what love might look like. She found solace in the narratives, a small corner where her soul might survive, enough that the trajectory of her own narrative took her other than to prison. I want to read the book.
This morning I crawled with our brother Philip into the chariot and heard E2's question (my nickname for the Ethiopian Eunuch). He had been reading THE narrative. This refers to whom? He had managed to find some verses to mirror the narrative of his own journey. How old was he when he became. . . ? Was he a willing participant, or unwilling? What did he gain in this "exchange?" What did he lose? Searching he found a narrative in which his life experience is not only mirrored, but honored.
Ah, our stories, these narratives in our library, our Biblia. There's one for you, for me, today in that vast library. Rumi says "Take down a musical instrument." Do that, and more, take down a book, THE BOOK, OUR LIBRARY.
Rejoicing w/ E2, and rejoicing in THE narratives,
Mary on the Prairie