A Skeptic’s Critque of Storytelling (but not necessarily mine)

“What the earliest scriptural-literary texts . . . do is attempt
to find a language to come to terms with . . . the contingency
of being.” —
Amit Chaudhuri; Storytelling & Forgetfullness
.
what is a story but a trip through landscapes

inhabited by characters bent by other characters
shoehorned into imaginations or pulled
as a potter does a pot drawing up water & clay,
the stuff of earth,
forcing it into free-standing somethings
into which are pitched or placed our most concrete dreams
of the day to stand like new bouquets in rooms
we inhabit among stars? what are they but songs
skewed by future disharmonies no matter how
religiously we hang their notes upon staffs
to assemble sounds harmonious and appropriate
to the moment of the day they’re first sung? what but
parcels of hope and re-collections, Jenga game blocks
assembled to be disassembled as our need sees fit
to salve a wound or wrench a moment
into the most convenient configurations
of the top dogs of a time —histories written by
winners and losers but whose top billing among texts
depends upon coincidence or something even more mysterious
which bends the arc of future tales in the peculiar direction
of Who Knows What?

Jim Culleny
9/22/19