It wasn’t my plan to wake up at six. I planned to sleep in, but there was that stupid rubbish bin full of garbage the council didn’t pick up on Wednesday (just like two weeks ago) so we were to put it out this morning and they’d collect it (so they said). The Goblin set the alarm for 7:30, which was why I couldn’t fall back to sleep. So there I was half comotose, staring at the dusty chandelire over the bed (we sleep in the dining room) wishing I could go back to sleep stressing out over the garbage being picked up and Star Trek came to mind. I started thinking about how Star Trek stories has affected my life. And then I started to think about all the stories I’d read or heard as a child and how they’d shaped me. It occured to me (feel free to disagree) that each of us is a sum of the stories woven into our lives. Then I started thinking…what happens when someone has more of one type of story than another told to them as a child? Would a child predominantly raised on war stories grow up to be war focused? Would someone raised on stories that another group of people were evil or lesser creatures grow up to believe the stories and hate the other group? Would people raised on soap operas be able to remain with one partner long term if they’d grown up on stories of people whose relationships never outlasted a pair of underwear? Would a society that focused soley on romantic stories of love (that left out war or of heroes who defended other people) be capable of defending itself in times of war or would they capitulate and lose their stories and identity to the victor?
Thinking about the stories of my childhood I can’t help but wonder if’ I’d never heard Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, the three little pigs, Little House on the Prairie, or The Secret Garden, The Witches of Worm (one of the freakiest children’s story ever put on vinyl) would I be the same person? If I’d never ever heard any version of Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, The Emporer’s New Clothes? If I’d never heard Rumplestiltskin or read Robinson Crusoe or listened to Dr Zeus and his stories of Green Eggs and Ham and Star Belly Snitches…or heard The Rats of Nimb…or watched Star Trek when I was five (when we briefly had a tv) and then off and on when we had a tv. Would I be the same person? I don’t think I would.
The more I think about it…stories are the social building blocks of a society. My friend Anne once asked me if I could imagine a world (inhabited by humans) without stories. I can’t. It’s impossible! Everything we do…everything we are is woven from and into a story.
They never did come to collect our rubbish. I’ll have to call the council on Monday and nicely communicate my unhappiness with the situation. If they tell me (again) that the bin men (Garbage men) said they’d come by but my bin wasn’t out (ie they lied)…I shall nicely further communicate that I’ll write a story of my own and send it to the local paper! Bin men lying about picking up rubbish? Why? What are they doing when not picking up my rubbish? Are they deliberately not picking up rubbish so they can work overtime on Saturdays? Are they off digging through better bins to see if anything salable was thrown away before they return to the dump? Do they just hate backing their giant trucks down our dirt road? Are the people in the house at the bottom of the hill as fed up as I am? I don’t know…but there’s definitely a story in the bin!
That is really interesting, my dear sister! I know that if I’d never heard any fairy stories that I would think that I would never accept better for myself and know that I can overcome dificulties if only I have the will and desire to do so. hmmm… interesting!
I agree…I think fairytales are really important. They help young children process the good and the bad in their world within a safe story environment. What I find really fascinating about fairytales is that they have enough white space to allow each listener to hear the story they need. So both you and I could listen to the fairytale of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty and we’d both probably feel resonating elements from our childhoods…but you would have you own version and I would have mine.
A Jen Too Many says
My parents tended to discourage fantasy, so in reaction I made one of my big high school papers about the benefits of fairy tales. I wound up using Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment as my major source. (Even then I could see there was a lot of nonsense in his arguments, but I didn’t care – it was support for the point I was determined to make – fairy tales and fantasy would not rot your brain or ruin your life.)
Stories gave me a framework to figure out the world around me as I was growing up. The POV of the world that I got was not always helpful, and was not always accurate, but more often than not, it was good for me. I am especially reminded of how the early Berenstein Bears books, with their ridiculously incompetent father, gave me a safe outlet for expressing some of my anger toward my own dad. It annoys me that they are now to very, very nice and PC. Lots of modeling socially acceptable behavior – no more bumbling idiot dad. That’s really too bad.
@A Jen Too Many
Isn’t it sad that the PC Brigade (unelected social police) are trying to whitewash children’s stories? They’re idiots! It does children no favour not to teach them that in the real world people will be cruel, but that they can rise above it and suceed regardless. That psycho who tortured you for years was a good example! When will these people learn that scrubbing uncomfortable truths out of books or public won’t make them go away, but will only end up subverting them and making the problem deeper…more sinister…more frightening! Just think…if there are vast groups of children being raised to believe that no one is bad…how the heck are the children ever going to survive reality?
Ray just yelled from across the room “Yes”!!! He of course is an expert in this area.
Ray would definately know!!! Ray is like Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maidan (only cuter and smarter), I don’t think there’s anything Ray can’t do!
Tell Ray I’ve been thinking about him…I think we should name the pool after Ray! Tell him I said hi…hopefully I’ll see him soon. 🙂
I have an idea; why not take the garbage and dump it at the council meeting or is that a little too drastic?
That’s a very good idea only they’d definately give me a hefty fine for littering (and probably have me arrested under the Terrorism Act and hold me 40 days without charge). I think a lot of people running the England mistook George Orewell’s book 1984 as a handbook! If you haven’t read it…that’s not a good thing. Oh well…at least they finally came and actually took away my rubbish today, both the black bin and grey bin at the same time (ie they picked up all my sorted rubbish for recycling and took it to the dump. These are the same people who have refused to take my rubbish in the past because some morning walker who picks up litter put their gathered litter in my bin on top of my black bin bags…that’s unclean rubbish…so they won’t take it…except apparently when they ‘forgot’ to collect someone’s garbage. That’s the end of one rubbish tale until next week!