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I am a Story-teller: Exploring mythopoetic sensuality


“I am a story-teller,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie began her much appreciated 2009 TED Talk entitled “The Danger of a Single Story”. By her skill and facility shown during the talk and her many publications before and since then, one can indeed experience her as the story teller that she announces herself to be. While Adichie is a particular kind of story-teller, every one of us may lay claim to being a story-teller, perhaps and more likely, of a different kind. We are all storified beings. Our being is a story however we imagine story to mean and be.


We live our lives between stories, within stories and in stories. Our stories enter a conversation that reveal a vitality that is engendered at their confluence; the intra-mythology and the inter-mythology. The intra-mythology honours the felt personal mythology that is shaped by our desire to make meaning of our individual place in the world, the confluence of personal myths. The inter-mythology is a plural-logical conversation of stories of the personal nature and those of the other; other being persons and the more-than-human world. Our intra-mythology enters into a conversation with another intra-mythology where inter-mythology begins. Here a conversation with the mystical unknown begins. Somewhere in this conversation, an awakening, a quickening, a wrestle, a discomfort, a shift, a dislocation, and an expansion into the unknown, even unimaginable nature emerges.


As storied beings, living in conversational stories, we know that there is no one story. Adichie suggested that while stories matter, many stories matter more. Stories of ourselves perhaps could be allowed to expand and be more than one. We can acknowledge the many stories that we are; our biographical, sociocultural, socioeconomic, psychological, spiritual, cognitive, archetypal and emotional stories. While these stories are valid, they could expand the least likely intangible stories of sensuality.


Sensuality invites us to connect with our stories of the sense. We have attempted to connect with our cognitive and rational stories in some ways in our lives; stories around a braai, however limited and limiting and sometimes full of assumed heroics. For most people, sensual stories remain unexplored. Sensual myths understandably can feel too close for comfort and yet when we embrace them, they could awaken us to our primal memories.


What are your stories of touch, sight, taste, feel, smell and vision? Perhaps bringing our sensibility in the realm of story will allow us to expand our repertoire of personal-mythology consequently deepening our mythological conversation with the unknown. I suspect that we cannot tell our personal stories without evoking our sensuality. Engaging our sensualities and sensibilities in our story may just be the beginning of telling our stories from the conversational frontiers. With our sensuality enlivened, we might just begin to experience our mythologies as intra or inter-mythologies. Our stories may just open us up to the possible trans-mythopoetic nature of reality.


From this reflection, I am inviting you to join me in exploring sensuality and sensibility through my foraging of poetry. I will share a poem and invite you to engage with it and whenever it allows you, to share your sensing of it. Your sensing may lead you to some form of expression; in word, drawing, movement, dance, or any other form of creating. Follow your senses. You might want to share that, as I will in the comments section here below. Somewhere in your sensing of the poem may lie an element of your sensual story.

I will begin with Antonio Machado (1875-1939), the great poet of the Civil War. He wrote:

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino y nada más; caminante, no hay camino,se hace camino al andar.

Pathmaker, your footsteps are the path and nothing more; pathmaker, there is no path, you make the path by walking.

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