Friday, May 30, 2014

Mind the Gap!

Just heard a great story on NPR's Morning Edition about why certain songs make us want to dance.
The conclusion is that songs with moderate rhythmic complexity and syncopation, inspire us to "fill in" the rhythmic gaps. So we jiggle, tap, clap,!

The same is true in storytelling. A classic "involvement strategy" for storytellers is to develop a rhythmic under current that grows in complexity and leaves gaps for the listener to fill in, resulting in spontaneous participation. The linguistic strategy of ellipsis (...) likewise inspires the listener to fill in the gap.  You can hear this at play in the cumulative pattern story of The Little Ant:

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I recently had a wonderful experience as Emcee and Presenter at The Electric Universe Conference (EU2014) in Albuquerque, NM. This was a gathering of passionate and dedicated physicists, geologists, climatologists, mythologists, and others, all exploring the a big "What IF?"  What IF... electricity plays a major role in the physics of the cosmos? What IF the sun is more like a light bulb than a fire-ball? What IF the mythic cosmologies of our earliest ancestors were reporting actual experiences of extraordinary events? What IF we were to re-examine and re-think our own understanding of ancient history? What IF we are all part of a vast integral electric circuit called 'universe'? What IF?

My mother died just before Easter and I have been pondering her legacy in my life. She had been a high school science teacher. She told me that if I wanted to be a scientist, I did not need to know anything. But, she said, I must wonder about everything. "The end of science is Knowing, the beginning is Wonder."

So at an early point in my life, I set out to be a scientist. I became a storyteller. I discovered that story and science begin in the same place: Wonder.

Here is a storyteller's perspective I contributed to the conversation: