Wednesday, 18 March 2009

878 - Storying

No good fighting a Civil Rights campaign for freedom of identity on the negatives.

This is the positive. With freedom of identity we can story.

I wrote an earlier post on storying, though I didn't call it such.

Storying is the verb. Storying is the sport. Storying is living your life as a riff on the stories you know, mashing them up to create new ones, adding your own freshly composed tales to the mix. Storying is the fully conscious life.

Storying is to the conformed life what parkour is to the restriction of public access, mashing up is to popular music, and grafitti is to consumer culture.

In the end we all story, just as we all parkour the space our bodies occupy, sing our songs while we breathe, and leave our mark in the memories of those who come after us. We story because we have the freedom to know who we are, and who we are is, in the privacy of our minds, our own to decide.

Storying is not new. Religious folk who are born again choose their new identities, mash themselves into the body and life of Christ, or the Umma; change their names to mark what they do.

Poets and eccentrics fashion counter- or hyper-cultural personalities, like Dylan Thomas or Quentin Crisp.

You or I do it when we leave a movie and let ourselves be Indy or Erin Brockovich for half an hour, squared-shouldered and witty, until something reminds us that it was just a movie and they are made up, and we have responsibilities (never mind the responsibility to enthuse others, or fight injustice expecting to win).

Celebrities do it, being Madonna, or Jordan, or Jade, or Jamie, or Orlando. It's method-acting, real time. There's a cost, but only because storying is seen as a privilege, to be offset by pain. Storying is not a privilege, it's a right.

Games players do it, and second-lifers, but you don't need the technology - that's a tool, not a necessity. You can free-run bare-foot. You can be your avatar off-screen.

Everyone stories, over a lifetime, over generations, day by day, minute by minute. Think of the shortest story you can, and make it happen (remember the twist, though; the learning experience; you won't be the same person leaving the story as you were entering it).

Storying is a deliberate act by which we take the natural narrative of our lives - birth, life, death - and fashion it into what we want it to be. Perhaps it has its own morality - villains get their comeuppance, somehow; love blossoms, dies and is reborn. After all, a bad story fails to satisfy. Sometimes, perhaps, it crosses into fantasy. That's okay.

And stories can be abandoned: put down, or away, and started again.

Storying can transform a community. Watch it happen in Whitley Bay. Real time.

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