I’d like to tell you a story of origin: a story about how I found the source of my own work.
This source is an actual geographical location. You may or may not be able to perceive this place with your physical eyes. My first glimpse of this place was a stream in a cow pasture creek behind an old Native American schoolhouse in Southeastern Oklahoma.
I followed its limestone bed as far north as the shaded-cool waters of the Ozarks, followed its network of tributaries to the Brazos, past the Heart of TX and further until it ran on to the brown water ports of the Texas gulf.
At some point I joined my husband’s expedition as he had found the stream in the gin-clear waters of the Caribbean. I helped him trace their source to the grassy rivers closer to his own roots. These streams, they were everywhere. They opened up into a place that was all but inconceivable. The place was called the Ocean of the Streams of Story.
If you’ve never been there, it’s much like what it sounds: an Ocean full of the Streams of Story. When you stand at the edge of the Ocean you will see what I saw, that it is made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different color, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity. These are the Streams of Story.
And it is important that you know as you look at these that each colored strand represents and contains a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contain different sort of stories. There are stories of personal history, ancient stories full of wisdom, fables, mythologies from around the world.
There is a place within the Ocean of the Streams of Story for each and every one of these. All the stories that have ever been told and many that are still in the process of being invented can be found here. The Ocean of the Streams of Story is in fact the largest library in the universe.
Now this part is really really really important. If my story has lulled you to sleep, please perk up for this. Because the stories are held here in liquid form, they retain the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that very unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story is much more than a storeroom of yarns.
The Ocean of the Streams of Story is not dead, but it is very much alive.
And within the Ocean of the Streams of Story there are artists. When these artists get hungry, they swallow stories in every imaginable way and in their innards, miracles occur.
A little bit of one story joins on to an idea from another and presto, when they spew stories out they are not old tales but new ones. All streams flow into the sea, but the sea is never full…