Where Stories Come From

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The storytelling mind.

Last night in the middle of the night, I realized I was recounting a silly story in my mind as I slept. Even then, I doubted I would write it, because it was just one long joke, and a jejune one at that. By now I’ve forgotten it, but it did start me wondering where stories come from.

This one seemed to come as a reaction to my recent concentration on serious subjects to the exclusion of play, something that has always been a major part of my creative process. In fact play and creativity are the same thing in my world.

It’s just that when I started to write here on Medium, I had a few things to get off my chest. I am persuaded that things are not going well on planet Earth and I wanted to point out some connections that seem to be overlooked. That done, maybe I can shut up about it now.

Or not. We’ll see.

But, where does the mind find it’s subjects, its themes and inspirations? It usually starts with play, for me. The energy of playfulness carries a stream of unexpected associations that come in many forms. Not taking things too seriously, not “knowing” but rather learning, discovering, and shaping what appears on the horizon of your mind.

Yet, keeping a questioning attitude, asking yourself what to keep and what to let go of.

Out of that tentative, playful delight can come unexpected insights. You may well wonder if you’re really as astute as what you write. You can wonder who’s the teacher and who’s the pupil in this relationship between your surface self and your deeper self.

There is a deeper fund of creativity living right below the surface, it seems, and it often emerges at unexpected times, especially when our conscious mind grows quiet.

Listening to what passes through us is discovery of a source of creativity. We don’t have to go rummaging through the world to find it.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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