Stories are at the heart of human culture. Stories are the basis for entire industries. Stories are the foundation of all fiction writing. Stories are what we tell our kids, what we tell each other, and most importantly, what we tell ourselves. We never seem to run out and we never tire of telling the best ones over and over.
When a group of people tell each other the same stories over and over, they grow closer. They find they have commonality. There is plenty of grease for the wheels of their society. When they tell each other lots of conflicting stories, tensions rise; divisions occur. When they tell themselves one story and tell others a conflicting one, they are generally criminals, liars, or hypocrites. Continue reading
I remember playing cowboys and Indians when I was a kid. That’s not politically correct any longer, but I grew up in the days of the western, when you couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing cowboys and Indians shooting at each other, and Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were still playing in the local theater on a Saturday morning.
There was a good deal of land around where I lived and my brother and I and the one neighbor kid would run around pretending to be either a cowboy in a white hat or Crazy Horse.
Forget the insensitivity to the previous genocide of the Native Americans for a minute. We were six or ten; we knew nothing of that; no one had told us (no one did tell us until I was in college, actually), and we had a great deal of fun running around, dropping, unsuspected, out of trees on our enemies, shouting “gotcha” and “Bang, you’re dead.”
A favorite ploy, if you were playing on the Indian side was to cover yourself in grass and weeds and then pop up when the cowboys rode by (think Monty Python’s King Arthur) shooting them with suction cup tipped miniature arrows from a tiny bow you could buy at Woolworth’s Five and Dime.
We knew we weren’t cowboys or Indians. We were “pretending.” And it was magical. Continue reading