Sunday, June 9, 2013

Story-telling, teaching and love

"[The] thing that has the capacity to make storytelling glorious is love. Just as great teaching is loving a subject in the presence of students who are also loved, so it is with story. A man who loves the story he is telling, and loves the people he is telling it to, is a formidable bard. Something mysterious happens when story-grip sets in. One man writes a disheveled story, breaks numerous rules, and gets away with it. Another writes a story with every hair in place, prim hands folded on the lap, and it stinks. Then someone else writes a textbook example of doing everything right, and it works anyway. Failures of story-telling are at some level a failure to love. Successes in story-telling are examples of love triumphing."

Douglas Wilson, “Love Story,” March 8, 2010  (


  1. I am going to have to borrow this quote. Thank you. You are a scientist--you imagine, collect, examine, explore, discover, experiment, test...everything except draw conclusions. Who would have guessed? Of course you're also a writer and poet and musician and artist--but a scientist--I never saw that coming.

  2. The embedded definition of great teaching has been haunting me ever since I read it--"loving a subject in the presence of students who are also loved." It makes me almost want to teach again.

    A scientist?

  3. Alas, Nancy, methinks the current 'teach-to-the-test' public education movement means truly inspirational teachers to be will be teaching in private schools. I mourn the loss of good public schools more than I can say.

  4. Yes, I understand your concern. My son-in-law and daughter are public school teachers with high ideals and standards, but it is a constant battle for them. And the major conflicts are with the system. How sad.