What's in a story? Thoughts from our Content Manager

 

The best stories are shared, again and again, and you never tire of them.

When I was younger, I found it impossible to fall asleep without first listening to a bedtime story.

Luckily for me, my mother had travelled extensively as a child due to her father’s job, and she also conveniently happened to be a natural-born storyteller. So every night, I’d settle into my bed, and request to be told a story from her childhood. And every night, she delighted me with her tales.

Eventually, I knew which ones were my favourites, so I’d ask her to repeat those. Again and again. I never grew tired of them.

A few months ago I went to a lecture by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, and artist. She regaled the audience with two stories and explained that she has both heard and told these stories countless times over the course of her life. And each time these stories are shared or received, they take on new meaning, they deploy new perspectives.

That’s because the best stories are alive.

Stories are flashlights.

I was born and raised in Mexico City, within a French household. My family immigrated to Mexico before I was born, but as a unit, we retained a strong grasp on our culture of origin. For this reason, I was enrolled in a French school, and as a result, the collective stories I was told were almost exclusively about France, from a French perspective.  

Stories are like flashlights shining into a dark forest. They can never capture everything that’s happening, all they can attempt to do is direct our attention and shape our understanding of the world around us.

Since moving to Canada, I’ve become more conscious about which stories I consume, which stories I pay attention to, which stories I allow to shape my perception.

A well-told story is an invitation. And if you know how to accept it, a well-told story is a gift.

What are the traditional stories of this land? 

Since moving to the traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Pétun, the Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the Credit, I have been fortunate to hear various stories of Turtle Island, Skywoman, maple syrup, and Nanabozho. Through reading, I have also encountered Potawatomi stories. As a settler, it is my responsibility to listen to them, to learn from them, and to respect them. But doing so is also a delight, as I believe that each time a traditional story is shared with me, I am invited to lean into truth. My intention is to accept each invitation as a gift.