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Blog Home2018-11-16T18:48:58+00:00

The kind of stories that I’m interested in exploring on this blog aren’t just for entertainment. They’re not ‘fictions’ in the usual sense of the word. As Alan Garner puts it: ‘The difference between legend and modern storytelling is that the modern story is a conscious fiction, whereas the legend … was, in its origins, an attempt to explain a reality.’ This is what I’m interested in: the stories that underpin our lives, our concepts of the world, our ways of being. Through all the years that I’ve been working with stories I’ve been astonished at how easily people seem able to dismiss stories – ‘fairy stories’ especially. Stuff for kids, they’ll mutter. Escapism. They’re not real. 320

Following yesterday’s argument about where new stories come from, I’d like to explain why I’m so hung up on the need to understand how metanarratives work. 33

Once upon a time ‘narrative’ and ‘story’ weren’t the latest buzz words of modern-day intellectuals, but actually meant something. Now it seems you can’t read a blog or open a book of a certain kind – or even listen to the Radio 4 news – without the word ‘narrative’ splashed all over it. The world seems full of proclamations about the need for a ‘new story’ for civilisation, but it often seems to me that those who are calling for new stories have rarely understood either the implications of the old ones, or what stories are actually FOR and how they work. 19