the Yin and Yang of Storytelling

Your story, when you write it, must go a certain way. It must have a beginning, middle, and end. There is a certain momentum which must be created, with peak points for the drama. And this : if your story has no conflict, it is not really a story at all.

We are told this, over and again. For we are an excessively Yang culture, and our narratives take the same form as our imperatives - expansion, drive, overcoming conflict, seeking resolution. We've developed our societies through force and domination. We tell stories the same way - as if our stories are military or political campaigns - a leading character, a problem to be overcome, a plot that is fulfilled by the end.

Can you imagine what a more womanly, tribal, or Yin story might look like? Perhaps we would see things like ...

Settlement ... a young person who does not run away from home to find herself, but instead gathers together her heritage, memories, and dreams, to establish a homeland within her heart, a place from which she can continue to grow.

Collaboration ... with the whole family helping to solve a problem, or the whole village, in a way which values all voices and acknowledges no man goes truly alone in this world.

Consideration ... since all behaviour is communication, when there is a conflict people listen, and then open a sincere dialogue, and the problem is given what is needed for healing and peace.

Continued growth ... the story does not suggest an ending. The crowning of a king is in no way the resolution for any real story. Marriage is a whole new beginning. The winning of a war does not always lead to peace.

And now can you imagine what our world might come to look like if we regularly told, and heard, stories like that? Perhaps we'd have a different approach to health. A different approach to education, entertainment, international politics. Perhaps we'd stop typecasting people. Perhaps we'd raise our children to gather skills, tools, stories and dreams for their living, rather than marching towards one particular career. And perhaps we'd honour all the people it takes to make one hero.

(Today's photographs were processed using a Kim Klassen texture.)


  1. Beautifully, dreamy photos, and your ideas are thought provoking!

  2. Certainly food for thought. The world would be a better place indeed. Love your little bowl of goodies.

  3. I love this so much. Even reading it feels healing.

  4. How much I enjoyed your words today. Eloquent and true. You express much of what I have been thinking of lately. We live in such a 'success' oriented world. But is it really successful?

    Your images closely reflected your imagery.

  5. This is actually what I'm working on in my novel. I have conflict, but I'm concentrating on resolving it in a way that reflects my own values of honesty, forgiveness and long patience....I haven't thought of those things as inherently feminine, but your descriptions resonate with me. It's been interesting, I keep finding myself worrying that the story will be too "boring" for readers, or even that it will seem unrealistic. This post gives me a little bit of courage that I'm on the right track. Thank you. ;)

    1. Best wishes for your book! I can't wait to read it :-)

  6. soft dreamy photos and thought provoking words.

  7. I would love to try this world.

  8. Wonderful photos. Great for food for thought.

  9. Lovely post. Visiting from Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

  10. I agree, that might be a better world. She's been trampled on in this world. But it's up to us to build it now, isn't it. Thanks for reminding us. --Visiting from Texture Tuesday