Recently, after enthusiastically declaring that she wanted to have sex with me, a stunningly beautiful woman asked, “Afterwards, what kind of places do you want to go with me?”
I quickly answered, “Storied places.”
A musician thinks in music. A mathematician thinks in mathematics. A literary writer thinks in story. I am a literary writer. A story is the meaning of experience rendered in experience. Storied places engender stories of themselves and in me.
An antique shop is a storied place. The first story it tells is that things used to be different, other things were done, other things were treasured. The butter churn bespeaks another mode of reflection; the spinning wheel denotes another sense of harmony. The old plow talks of living into the land. The dusty radio remarks of just living upon the land.
Old book stores are storied places. The texts of their volumes tell tales that are old, mostly in the sense of time, some in the sense of understanding. The tomes themselves relate a history of the reverence for knowledge. French Morocco leather, sewn leaves, Arts and Crafts bindings and marbleized endpapers belie a yearning to both behold and to cradle precious words. The diction and structure of composition in older books heralds a conviction that language adequately expresses thought: the more eloquent, the more succinctly argued, the more vividly portrayed, the better. Musty books give way to buckram, edge gluing and paperback, portending a disdain for knowledge and the breezy, specious language within a shunning of deep thought.
Wildernesses are storied places. Breath taking beauty tells us that the human spirit is essentially profound and we ignore that profundity at our peril. The ecstasy of wildness reminds us that we emerged from the brute and can sink back into it if we do not attend to that shimmering spirit within us. The quiet isolation instructs us that all artifice is unthinking noise. The sheer majesty of nature screams that we are arrogant fools to think the planet needs saving, for it is the soul of humanity that is nearer to destruction.
Sadly, graveyards and battlefields are not storied places. They speak only of the end of life. Death has no story. It is the end of all story.,
Saddest of all, most households are not storied places. Most children cannot recite the stories of their families because we have locked the storytellers away in death factories where they play bingo and eat the bitter boredom of castaways until they croak. Most homes are not filled with meaningful relics passed down from those who knew something of life. Instead, they are filled to the brim with status objects and stupid technology.
Fortunately, mental hospitals are storied places. They are packed with people who were deprived of story. These forbidding institutions portend the fate of those who have not made a story of their lives and will not listen to those who did.
Causes Michael Warren Supports