Tunes for a Monday Morning
Reading, telling, awakening

The story instinct

Mist 1

From The Mystery Feast by Ben Okri:

"There is nothing that expresses the roundedness of human beings more than storytelling. Stories are the highest technology of being.

"There is in story the greatest psychology of existence, of living. Indeed there is in story something semi-divine. The nature of story itself is linked to the core of creation. Story belongs to the micro-moment after the big bang. It belongs to the micro-moment after the 'let there be light!' act of creation.

Mist 2

Mist 3

"We live in a time in which we are being told that the main things of value are the things of science and the things of technology. Our lives are being compressed into this technological reality. But it is worth remembering the many-sidedness of being human. Great evil befalls us when we restrict ourselves to just one side of our being.

Mist 4

"It is important that we don't become machines, that we don't become computers. We contain machines. We contain computers. We contain all of nature, the seas, the mountains, the constellations, and the nearly infinite spaces.

Mist 5

Mist 6

"At the heart of all science -- its experiments, its theories, its mathematics, its discoveries, its interpretations -- is the story instinct. The scientific mind would be impossible without the story DNA, without the story-seeing brain cells. The mind's aspects do not operate in isolation. Every human being immersed in the cyclorama of reality is implicated in the cosmic story-making nature of reality. Maybe this story-making quality of reality is what constitutes the heart of our existence.

Mist 7

Mist 8

"At every moment we are in a micro or macro 'once upon a time' sea of existence. In every moment we are part of the infinite sea of stories that the universe is telling us, and that we are telling the universe.

Mist 9

"Maybe this story-making quality of being is the principle magic as well as the principle illusion of our lives."

Mist 10

Mist 11

Mist 12

Words: The passage above is from The Mystery Feast: Thoughts on Storytelling by Ben Okri (Clairview Books, 2015), a lovely small press booklet which I highly recommend. The poem in the picture captions is "Why We Tell Stories" by Lisel Mueller (Poetry magazine, July 1978), who is one of my all-time favorite poets. All rights reserved by the authors. Pictures: Our hill on a misty autumn morning.


the quiet story of this autumn walk in the hills with Tilly is such good food for the soul, you live in a beautiful place!

The poem across your photos is quite wonderful. I am glad to have a copy.

Singing Bones

"bones that rose
from the dark earth and sang.."
--Lisel Mueller

They are all around us,
those bones,
singing the stories
of victory, defeat.

They are all beneath us,
those bones,
chanting the lives
of our ancestors.

They are all above us,
those bones,
the angle of their feathers
recalling angels.

They are all inside us,
those bones,
bringing us new songs.
not to replace the old

but to give them body again,
to be their voices,
to sing their songs.

©Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Lovely, Jane. Yes, let's "give them body again".

I know I'll reread this post again and again. Thank you.

Also, these photos are life-giving. Bless you!

Thanks, Edith--that has been my life. Ad Terri's.


I am grateful for it every single day.

All of Lisel Mueller's work is stunning, Jane. And she returns to fairy tale themes quite often. I highly recommend her collection Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.

This poem goes full circle for me, my dear, as you were the one who first introduced me to Lisel Mueller's work, many years ago.

This is beautiful.

Sending you a bit of Dartmoor autumn over the sea, Edith, with the hope that your own writing is flourishing.

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