Caught in the flush and rush of life it can be difficult to remember, to stop and reflect. I think that's one of the powers of story, to be able to hold you and carry you along in a memory, a thought, a moment of the past. A story can hold the door for you so that it does not swing shut and lock you out.
This post is slightly belated, but I wanted to write it nonetheless. It was Remembrance Day two days ago, and that's an important holiday for me. Not for any hugely personal reason, but for a deeply felt cultural reason. It's a reminder of that need for reflection. It's a pause in the ongoing rush of the year.
And what helps me in this reflection is to engage the past through story. I listen to the stories of a friend who served in Korea. I pick up The Things They Carried or This Way For the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen and leaf through the pages. I watch Band of Brothers, appreciating the experience of a few as a symbol of the many.
Story here as transformation, as connection, as substitute memory. A proxy for experiences I cannot know myself, nor wish to. A moment of thanks, where story can serve as ritual. I try to do this every year, story providing a way to make an abstract idea concrete, to provide a vivid and felt reality that can embody the emptiness of a day marked so loosely on a calendar.
So... story as ritual - anyone else have quirks like this? How do you use stories to commemorate or remember something?