Stories Are Important

I don’t think it can be done in a sentence.

Stories are important because we step into them and stand back at the same time. Stories are a liminal space, a threshold.

You know how we define ourselves by first defining others? That is the function of stories. The ancient myths taught people how to behave. You don’t, for example, cut a visitor’s legs off after offering him a bed to sleep in. We don’t do that, this myth told the Greeks. And we take retribution on those who don’t follow the rules of hospitality. This is fair and just.

Stories now do much the same, though on grander scales. We read and identify. This is the right thing to do, we say to ourselves. Yes, that’s a smart way to act. Or: No! Don’t do that! We are invested, but from a safe distance.

Liminal spaces are not meant to be inhabited indefinitely. We pass through them. They are fleeting. Stories are the same. We pass through them, sometimes many times because we really want to stay. But we cannot. That is part of their charm. A holiday is no longer a holiday if you stay. A story is no longer a story if you never come out of it. (Then it’s dementia or something, I suppose.)

Stories are important. There is no sentence to finish. One could list a lot of reasons, but there is no need. Stories are important. Period.

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