Memory and Storytelling - The Seven Year Weave

How to Story

30-05-2023 • 21 min

We are actually wired to change our stories. We embellish, we diminish, we combine memories, and sometimes we create memories that never happened. And we do this, according to the work of Frederic Bartlett and several other memory researchers after him, in an attempt to “smooth out” the memory in order to make it fit in the existing network of stories that comprise our sense of reality - our version of what is so. This is why we remember things to suit our situation: we’ve smoothed the memories out to confirm that our reality is exactly that - real. We’ve used this memory to make all the more clear that what is so IS SO. Things that don’t make sense to us, or aren’t consistent with our other stories, get edited out.

And this is why I wanted to end this first season with this story, The Seven Year Weave,  and its corresponding storytelling tool. Because we need to get better at listening. We need to get better at hearing other people’s stories and be able to hear something new.

You’ll hear in this story how people in this community have literal weaves of memories. Their stories make threads that are woven together into a tapestry - a tapestry that is, essentially, their story. And it is on display and unique and a part of who they are.

I like this - because imagine if you could see someone’s story - all its color and form and certain themes - and you could not only appreciate it but let it work on your own story. This is why we have the story listening tool. We have wide listening where we make ourselves available to information we otherwise would not notice, We have dense listening to include our bodies and subconscious into the experience. We have emergent listening to make room for something new and then narrow listening to help us contain it into our own story and understanding of the world. Four kinds of listening - not one. Four ways to be with other people and not only understand, but appreciate their unique story. A story that you will never hear from anyone else, in all of human history.

You can get your own Story Listening Tool at howtostory.org.

Thank you all for such a wonderful and enlightening first season!