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“Your opening phrase is your bridge between the world of ordinary conversation and the other-world of story. This crossing must be both magical and deliberate.” -- Margaret Read MacDonald on the art of storytelling.
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I love October!

Now we enter my favorite part of the year. I love September too, because it's the beginning of it all, but October, November, and December are the cherry on the ice cream cake of the year.  There's something about fall, the shedding of everything old, the creating space for new things to happen, the releasing of everything that's built up.  The weather is turning cool again.  Ever so much more bearable than the heat of summer.  I just don't do all that well with summer temperatures.  

Now that I've got that out of my system (I just had to share because that's what's on my mind tonight as I listen to the lovely rain on my roof), I've been thinking about two quotes this week.  

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. — Roald Dahl
If you aren't going to be engaged in whatever it is you're doing, why do it at all?  I think that's one of the things I appreciate about the tango classes I've been taking.  There's no one there that half-asses it.  They might be terrible, I might be terrible, but we apologize for stepping on each others' toes, talk each other through figuring out, 'now how did the teacher make that happen again!?' and we are patient as we all realize that we're trying to figure the same stuff out.  There's a real grace and kindness that happens in that class that I really appreciate.  And you know?  Sometimes it clicks and it might be terrible but it's fun!  

I think it helps that I approach it with a sense of "I'm terrible, I'm here to figure it out too, and it's all going to be alright! We'll work it out together!"  Sometimes two follows end up paired together if there aren't enough leads -- as someone who is new to the whole thing, and has enough trouble trying to follow, it's *hilarious* to try to lead!  And yet - it helps me to understand how hard it is to be a good lead.  And it helps me understand how to be a better follow.  So I dive into the mess with glee and enthusiasm because in the end, I don't really care whether I'm following or leading, only that I'm doing the best I can do regardless of which side I'm dancing.  

Tonight was back to school night for one of our daughters.  As we sat in the classes, as I tend to do, I got excited about all the things that she was going to get to learn about.  I think we were half way through physics when I realized, oh, she's going to haaaate having to learn about this, that, and the other thing. And at her age, I think I would have not really been all that into it either.  And sometimes I think I get excited about the possibility of things to be curious about more than the thing itself, so now and again it bites me in the butt in the sense that... the thing I thought I was curious about is actually more interesting to me in theory, and the details are something I'm delighted that someone else is interested in.  But maybe not so much me.

It took me a long time to figure that it was ok to be curious and also ok with the fact that my curiosity sometimes stopped before where I thought it should stop.  And that it was fine that I could be happy and excited that someone else was interested way beyond the point that my attention could be held. 

The other quote I've been thinking about this week is:
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
-- Widely attributed to Dorothy Parker
I don't think there's any end to the things that I want to learn.  I've said it before, and I'll no doubt say it again, that is why I became a librarian, at the heart of the matter.  No matter what I want to learn, I've developed the tools to go learn about anything I could possibly want to know.  That's also what I love about stories and myths - there is a whole wide world of story, myth, and metaphor that allows us to look at, filter, view, re-filter, re-view, and re-vision our lives.  And creative people coming up with new ways for us to do that every day.  

I happen to love the folklore and tales that have lost their original teller to time, but now and again a new story will cross my path and change the way I see the world, yet again. I love it.  I love that our stories are shimmering mirages that we can tell and retell and shift and repurpose and that they gleam like a dessert oasis, beckoning us towards them, only to shift and reveal something new, or old in a new way, as we close in on them.

I feel like with that, I should have a story to end this on.  Hmm.  So a story I learned just before I started taking the storytelling class in library school is a fairytale.  My teacher, Margaret Read MacDonald tells a different variation of the same tale - I wish I could find where my version came from, it all focused on the fiber arts.  In lieu of remembering my source, I can at least point to Dr. MacDonald as carrying one thread of the story for my source.  So with no further ado:

There was a woman who was tired of working every day, all day long.  As she was walking and knitting and complaining pretty soon a fairy overheard her and said, "I will come and help you, I love to knit!"  So the woman took the fairy up on it so she could do her other work.  Off the fairy went, clickity, clickity, clickity, clickity with the knitting.

Pretty soon she was spinning yarn for the knitting and the weaving, and she started to complain again.  The fairy, who was knitting for her said, Oh, I have a sister who loves to spin, I'm sure she'd come and spin for you so you can do something else.  The woman said, yes!  That would be lovely!  And so soon the sister joined, and the wheel as it was peddled whirred away rhythmically, and the knitting needles went clickity, clickity, clickity, clickity.  

As the woman went about with her weaving, before long she started to complain about the weaving too!  And the fairies said, We have a friend, a lovely friend who can come and help you with that!  And of course the woman said yes.  And before long the fairy sisters had their friend there, and the loom went whomp whomp whomp as the threads were beat into place, the spinning wheel was whirring rhythmically, the knitting needles were clickity, clickity, clickity, clickiting, and there was not a quiet corner of the house anywhere!  

The woman began to be weary of all the noise of these things happening all the time, though she was glad to have them taken care of.  But day after day, the noise became too much.  She said, I will give you three the day off!  They said no, we love doing this, we'd rather stay here!  So time passed.  She tried again, I will pay you to take a day off!  Oh no, we couldn't, we will stay and help you!  So more time passed.  She was at a loss for what to do and the constant noise was wearing at her.  Finally after consulting with the neighboring women, she had a plan.  

As evening fell, she rushed into the house where the fairies were still at work with the clickity clickity clickity clickity, whirra-whirra-whirra- whirra, whomp whomp whomp and shrieked, "THE HILL!  IT IS ON FIRE!"  The fairies yelped and fled to the fairy hill.  While they were gone, the woman pulled out the knitting and tangled the yarn, pulled the spun yarn from the wheel and loom and tangled it all too, put a big stone on the roving, and cut the woven fabric to pieces.  

Soon the fairies were back, banging at her door - you tricked us you terrible woman!  Let us back in to finish our work (which, of course, was never finished because there's always more to do!)!  The woman said, no! I will not - I asked you to leave twice before and you would not and now your work is done!  They said, fine!  Knitting and yarn, come to our aid and open the door, and the knitting said, I cannot come to the door - we are tied in knots!  They called for the roving, and the roving replied, I cannot!  There is a huge stone on top of me!  Fine - weaving, come to our aid!, and the weaving said I cannot I am cut into tiny pieces!

The fairies were so infuriated at this that they said, woman, all your complaining has brought you to this -- we will go and never return and you shall have no more help with your chores.  Good bye!

The poor woman was so relieved, she sat down to untangle the yarn, and refluff up the roving after it sitting under the stone, and clean up and restart the mess she had made of the weaving.  It was so peaceful and quiet, working all by herself. 

After a few days, she was sitting there, knitting and as she sat and knit she started mumbling under her breath about how much was to be done... and, catching herself, said, and I love to do all of it myself, a bit at a time. 

Snip, snap, snout, this tale's told out!


In curiosity,
--Susan

 

 

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