Thursday, April 10, 2008

Storyweaving and feedback from the 'other' story

Recently, we presented to our colleagues, our newly undertaken work with oral approaches to translation and language development. To give our colleagues a taste of what we have in mind, I wove a personal story with an old and very well-known story. The latter story was what I had hoped was in focus. Instead, much to my surprise, I received very positive feedback in connection with my personal story. Briefly, the personal story centered around my first experience of the feeling that life is meaningless, when my sister died in an auto accident. I was 12 at the time. In telling my story, I wanted to connect with the motif of 'meaninglessness / vanity / futility' found in the well-known story of the book, Ecclesiastes (chapters 1,2 and 12), which I'm viewing as a personal journey of the Teacher, aka Qoheleth, in his search for meaning. I did get positive feedback on the telling of Ecclesiastes too, but it was the personal story of my sister's death that people responded to first.

This experience taught me that the audience connects with stories, especially stories woven together, at various points. Most likely, where the audience connects depends on their interpretive frames and experiences or personal stories. Perhaps I could have woven the stories together in a different fashion if I wanted a different response. I'm satisfied with the response and feedback from the audience, but I can't get passed how surprised I was at how strongly people connected with my personal story. I told an earlier version of this storyweaving to a another audience and received a different response. I know that I told my personal story better the second time. We'll see what happens next time.

1 comment:

Dr.John said...

Thanks for your comment onmmy blog. I always wove personal elements into my story sermons.