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July 01, 2005


Humans spent hundreds of thousands of years as storytellers in close-knit, small band societies. That's what we're evolved for, I think. If writers seem lonelier than other people, maybe it's because they're still trying to get people to come in around the campfire. Instead, everyone's mesmerized by the blue light of televisions or computer screens - media that isolate people, even when they are in the same room. Not that the silently read text was much better...

Although I've made my living as a writer, I've never felt lonely. On my blog, I write to explain it all to myself. If others are interested, that's good too...

And as Dave points out, we are hardwired for storytelling. It's how we learn and how we pass on cultural knowledge. And it's ALL storytelling - television, movies, the internet, even commercials tell us a lot about ourselves.

The tag line of my blog is: "We all have stories to tell". Writers are hard-wired to get the stories down on paper. One of the most gratifying experiences I have had is teaching a memoir class to senior citizens. The stories are as beautiful, sad, happy, and unique as each person's experience.

The psychiatrist who led the yogic studies retreat I attended over the last two weeks, talked about the evolution of human personality. The ability to communicate well is a reasonably evolved quality that can be used for good and bad purposes. (The fun thing to consider is that communication is comprised of both expressing outgoing messages and reading incoming messages through body language, energy, what is not being said or written etc.) I remember staring at his Power Point at one point and thinking, "This really is a gift that is highly developed in certain people and needs to be taken so seriously." Of course, the secret to not losing one's mind (or friends!) is probably the principle of non-attachment--we offer up our gifts with no expectations. We give away what we have been given, and let the results take care of themselves.

(Karen wrote this in an email when she couldn't comment, so I'm adding it here. -Beth

I write because I need to put the process somewhere outside myself, and words - the most changeable and ethereal of things - seem somehow solid and real to me. So, yes, I write to express myself, but I do like to feel that someone is reading them. With a weblog one can always at least imagine that someone is reading them! The hit-log supports this illusion, and of course, the comment crowns it!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.