What’s Your Story?

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”

Roger C. Schink cognitive scientist


In The Literary Mind, cognitive scientist Mark Turner explains that “Narrative imagining-story-is the fundamental instrument of thought”  “Rational capacities depend on it.  It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining…. Most of our experience, our knowledge and our thinking is organized as stories.”

Quotes pulled from Danial Pink’s A Whole New Mind


Stories can be an effective way to incorporate play into work and every day life.  Telling stories is an effective way of communicating for any purpose from explaining an important situation to and aid in getting through the work day. Creating stories about everyday objects, tasks, or people can be beneficial entertainment even if they never leave your head.  Having your own sense of self story can also be highly motivating.  The flavor of your surroundings, the people around you, the music and noises you here and the narrative of your life; even if parts of it are known to be imagination and/or temporary, our sense of living a story can be entertaining, motivating and inspiring.  As with anything, telling stories, and our personal sense of story can be practiced.  If you write stories, but don’t like them, keep in mind that they are still beneficial because you are practicing.  Don’t give up.  Here is a story for you.

A Tale of Two Ducks

Reed and Lou were sitting by the river bank, watching the water swirl through the eddies. It was a nice day out. Mostly clear with a few wispy clouds on the horizon. It was mid afternoon, the sun still high in the sky, but on it’s way down. Lou was a bit older than Reed, he had spent the early years of his life on a foie gras farm until he escaped. He was then taken home by some children to live on a private lake until the family abandoned the property and the lake dried up. The next few years he spent roaming through twelve different states until he finally found a family in this flock and came to call the river his summer home. Reed knew all this about Lou. He had heard the stories many times. But there was one thing he never had asked. He slowly turned to Lou “Quack Quack Quack Quack?” Lou sat in silence, memories from his past flooding back. After a while he spoke, “Quack Quack, Quack Quack Quack. Quack Quack Quack Quack. Quack Quack Quack; Quack Quack Quack.” Reed stared in amazement “Quack!? Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack! Quack…Quack Quack Quack?” Lou gave a little chuckle at the innocence of the young duck and asked him, “Quack Quack Quack Quack, Quack Quack Quack Quack?” Reed thought about this for a while. Now he was put on the spot. He swished his beak in the water, stomped his feet around, stared at the sky then finally let out a long sigh, “Quack Quack Quack Quack. Quack, Quack Quack Quack. Quack Quack Quack Quack, Quack Quack; Quack Quack Quack Quack, Quack Quack. Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack.” He turned to look at the older duck, unsure of what his reaction would be. Lou looked back at Reed… and smiled. “Quack Quack! Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack? Quack Quack Quack!” Reed jumped up in excitement and gave Lou a slap on the shoulder. “Quack Quack?! Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack! Quack Quack!” And with that, they took off into the setting sun to go have adventures together.

What is your relationship to stories?

How has your sense of story effected you?


3 thoughts on “What’s Your Story?

  1. baloo Post author

    I made a story too….
    The characters of this story – for the ages – are a ghost, a rooster, and a cat. There may be some others too, but we’ll see when they arrive. If they arrive. You can never tell with characters. Like people they’re pretty flaky. I guess I should say like some types of wheat products and the et cetera.

    We begin here. Our friends the cat and the ghost are best friends. When I say best friends I mean it. They only spend time together. No one else. That may not signify best friends, but it signifies closeness, even if it is insanity. No, I take it back. They are not best friends and they don’t just spend time together. B ut they do spend all their time together. The difference between this statement and the one prior is that they spend all their time together because they are one and the same. They’re not friends at all. I’m talking nonsense. Other people hang around them too. Let’s get to the point, shall we?

    The cat and the ghost. Let’s call them by their biblical names. The cat and the ghost. Friends. Our friend, the cat’s friend, the ghost had gone away for a bit. He – I say he because why not? – grew up and went away for a long time. A time long enough to no longer matter what came before it, except geographical knowledge and even that, well, no, that mattered. He went away. He came back. The cat was with him the whole way. Why wouldn’t he be? Once back, however, the two of them met, among the other characters that I am not mentioning, a rooster. This rooster was not a good man, though in the scheme of life maybe he was. I say he because, why not? This rooster. This rooster took the two of them under his wing. He showed them the new way of life. He did a lot for them. But one day, one weird day, when the ghost and the cat had separated for a cup of coffee and a cup of tea, the cat was swiped up by the rooster. By swiped I mean invited back to his apartment or house or whatever a rooster lives in in the city. The ghost, our friend, went in search for his and our friend the cat and found nothing. Nothing but a note from the waitress about the cat leaving with the rooster and the rooster having his keys out. Apartment keys. The ghost went to her, the rooster’s, apartment. When he walked in he found a scene, a scene of the rooster standing over an operating table about to slice open our dear friend the cat. “Stop!” shouted the ghost.

    “Okay, for a second,” answered the rooster.

    “Please don’t slice him open. He’s our friend.”

    “I know. But he needs it. To release the chemicals.”

    “But you’ll kill him.”

    “The chemicals will. You know cats have parasites too,” stated the rooster in a tone. “I’ll tell you. If I don’t do this you must save him another way.”

    “I don’t know what you’re saying.”

    “I’m saying he’ll die.” A long pause took the room over. “Look, either he dies by the knife, maybe. Open and exposed to air and bacteria. Or he dies by internal suffocation and insanity from the parasites. They’re toxic.”

    “The other way?”

    “Thank god you asked. Go away from here and find a priest. Priests know more than we think. If they don’t, which is possible, find another one or somebody similar looking.”

    “What should I ask them?”

    “Tell them something. I don’t know.”

    “And the cat?”

    “I can wait.”

    “How long?”

    “Until I hear otherwise.” The ghost went on his way. He left the apartment or house of the rooster and searched for something, a priest specifically. I can’t tell you what he found nor can I tell you about the cat and the rooster and what they did during this time. I wish I could. I wish I could also tell you why it was a cat, a rooster, and a ghost. But the things I know as the narrator are this: the cat and the rooster had a grand time together, the ghost, well, he did too, in due time. Maybe two weeks time. When the ghost finally returned after an unknown amount of weeks and months he had news from the priest or who ever he found. The news stopped the insanity and the three got beer.

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