21 June 2018

How to Hold Hands with the Darkness

All stories begin somewhere, they can often take us far away from where we are comfortable, sometimes the hardest part is just letting ourselves go.

In A Beginning, a Muddle, and an And: The Right Way to Write Writing Avi weaves his usual story magic, this time exploring the writing process through narrative. At one point the characters are talking about the tricks of observation, they arrive here, 
“Creatures usually only see what they are looking for.”
“Are you suggesting we should look for what we don’t see?”
“You can see more that way,” suggested Edward.
One way to observe what we can’t see is through storytelling. And listening to (or reading) stories often involves trust, trust in the storyteller, trust in another person.
“Can you really see?” She asked.
“It’s dark,” said Bod. “But I can see.”
He began to lead Scarlet down the steps, deep into the hill, and to describe what he saw to her as they went.
Bod, the main character in Neil Gaiman’s Newberry winning The Graveyard Book uses his sight to lead Scarlet into a dark and scary place, a place where his fellow five-year-old friend can see nothing at all.  Trust, like this especially, can be quite a scary thing. Seeing from another person’s perspective sometimes is surprising because they see things differently, but it is very important to see other people’s perspectives. 

Trust in storytellers also involves some trust in darkness, which can be the beginning of many things. According to classical mythology, the universe began as Chaos and darkness, but eventually, the mayhem bore love, as Edith Hamiton's Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heros sheds light,
“From darkness and from death Love was born, and with its birth, order and beauty began to banish blind confusion.” 
A dark beginning may turn into a muddle, but from the muddle, the process, the darkness can be transformed into a kind of beauty. And beauty can be found in the midst of chaos. Often this kind of beauty relies on a translator, a storyteller, an artist. Painter Vincent van Gogh, during his time in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Asylum, inadvertently depicted the scientifically elusive and invisible turbulence. 

TED-Ed’s video The unexpected math behind Van Gogh's "Starry Night” explores the correlation between Van Gogh’s own darkness and his ability to express the unseen, 
“in a period of intense suffering, Van Gogh was somehow able to perceive and represent one of the most supremely difficult concepts nature has ever brought before mankind[.]” 
From Van Gogh's darkness, his art; from his art, his story...


As for stories, we urge you to take this story, process it, add your own insights, your own experiences, and then, share your story —with us, with a friend, with your journal, on social media. 

Tell a story, one of darkness, of light, of turbulence, of art, of muddles, of beginnings, or perhaps of an end.

If you do share on social media, please add the hashtag #LookWonderDiscover and we’ll look out for your story -because that’s what we do, we look, we wonder, we discover.

collaboratively written by: the LWD Team

graphic art and design: The Observer