Keyword: Story

Nothing happens without a story. We are the stories that we tell ourselves. If education is anything it is storytelling.

Story, myth and narrative are my primary research concerns so you will find reflections on story scattered throughout this site.

For now I’ll leave it to legal academic James Elkins, who sums up the notion of story succinctly and beautifully:

We are to ourselves all manner of stories, “cover stories,” fictional stories, and mythic stories. A life is held together, gains coherence and form, through narrative plots and mythic motifs. The fiction of self is the story I weave as I live a narrative with its disjointed illogic of action, circumstance, experience, feeling, memory, and imagination. Stories embody the accidental and fragmentary; myth collects our story fragments within a larger enfolded (nestled) structure that tugs on us from afar.

Story-telling is a kind of myth-making. When we are telling, talking, tattling, teaching, we come close to myth, we become myth-makers. Myths are the ancient pre-histories of the stories that appear as plots of our lives. Fairy tales are the folk expression of myth. They are stories with a mythic dimension. As we gain insight into our own stories we can see how one story embodies the stories of others, secular stories wrapped around sacred stories, personal stories entangled in cultural narratives, media stories, and institutional stories, and cover stories fronting for stories of another sort that have not been told.

Eli Wiesel, author and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his evocative literary accounts of the Holocaust, is reported to have said that “God created men and women because he loves stories.”

Elkin has a great website which explores a range of legal education issues including narrative jurisprudence and the representation of lawyers in film.


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