The Story is the Thing (Michael S. Webster)

What is a story?  What IS a story?

As a teller of stories myself, this should be one of those questions I would answer without a pause.  Just like I could answer what weather is.  It’s the stuff that happens in the atmosphere.  Even so, that’s an overly simplistic answer, but it works.  Especially for five year-olds.  However this is a college level course, and need a bit more meat to the answer.

My definition of a Story is this:


No, not Hammer Time.  Human Time.  That experience of time that humans live by, also known as cause and effect.  Humans experience and measure time in an arbitrary fashion.  The ticks of a clock is not time, but it measure the passage of time in an agreed to incrementation of seconds, minutes, and hours.  But it’s still a human invention.  The cause and effect of human existence (e.g., Birth precedes Death  . . . hopefully with a very long interval between the two) is not time either.  Time is a a universal force.  But a story isn’t time.

A story is the narrative that gives a given event, situation, etc. context.

An event:  Some student who shall be nameless, posted an anti-blog blog entry.  Okay, it was me.  That’s not a story.  It’s just an event.  Something happened.  That’s it.

This blog entry may have been entered by this unnamed student (yeah, still me) thinking they were logged into their own personal blog account.  When they realized their mistake, instead of removing it, decided to leave it there, in order to be able to use it as an example for this blog on “What is a Story”.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A story is how humans make sense of things.  From humanities earliest myths mythologies to historical events such as World War II and 9-11 to stories of a boy who lived with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead.  Stories are what puts an event into context to bring forth understanding of that event.


One thought on “The Story is the Thing (Michael S. Webster)

  1. meaganmthornton January 25, 2015 / 1:34 am

    I like this definition that a story is what puts events into context. This seems to align with what we read about “effective story” in Story Proof. – Meagan


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