It’s in the telling, not the story

My time is my only real resource. My time is finite. I’m temporarily able-bodied. I’m temporarily in control of my thoughts—and only mostly in control if I’m honest. We feel deeply touched when someone pays attention to us. This is why many people fight (figuratively and literally) for attention. The power of all the solitary experiences (books and music, meditation and personal movement, writing and all other composition, regardless of medium) is that we are free from the constraints of others’ time. With the solitary we remain entirely in control of the use of our own time.

By comparison, the consumption of stories via electronic media can leave us feeling peculiarly undernourished, dissatisfied and unfulfilled, as if we had just gulped down fast food. Despite an insatiable desire for more, we rarely feel uplifted, and it’s not often that we think about the characters for days afterwards. Storytelling is the oldest, purest and most direct form of human communication. Modern technology is no substitute for this unique compact between narrator and listener.

~ Richard Hamilton from,


The trick (in addition to T. E. Lawrence’s “not minding it hurts”) is to be aware of when we need to surrender our control to the others’ time. Sometimes we need to be enthralled. Sometimes we need to feel touched. Sometimes we need to feel ourselves given over to the power of others. For that, the power is more so in the telling.