Story of an object

In a previous post, I quoted Edmund de Waal about the stories that objects can “tell” us. In his book, those objects were things made by human beings; the story of the netsuke was not separate from the stories of the people who acquired them. His book did not examine the stories of the people who sculpted the netsuke, as there was no way to trace them that would not have required years of research. A fiction writer or poet might speculate on the possibilities of the lives of the ‘makers,’ however. That is part of what creative writers do.

There are also those “natural” objects that surround us and which can tell stories–or inspire human beings to imagine and tell their stories. For example, every origin myth contains some aspect of telling the story of the earth or sun, stars or mountains, seas, skies, moon.

After some online discussion with artist and writer Deborah Barlow, I considered the story of an object as having tactile and temporal aspects in some cases, and the object as “residue” of an event–or life. Ephemera, correspondence, tokens…many potential stories.

And, of course, works of art. If you follow this blog at all regularly, or check the archives or the Art[s] tab/page, you can tell I think often about art, its stories, artists, and their stories.

For example, a journal or notebook that an artist or writer uses can be a tool, repository, memory-jogger, inspiration-minder, sketchbook, Rolodex

It occurred to me that my poetry journals, which I’ve been keeping for decades, contain potential stories/poems but are also objects with their own stories to tell–which may or may not be “my” stories, though they necessarily intersect with whatever my story is.

objects, stories

objects, stories

~
Some examples. Tactile, visual, textual.
Inspiration, possibly.

Images captured in several ways.

Necessary–yes. For me.

~

Where do your stories reside? What object or objects seem to require the act of story-making? By which I mean, which objects fire that urge in you?

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2 comments on “Story of an object

  1. Sigrun says:

    Good questions! I have some themes that keeps on revisiting my mind, as if they try to tell me something – but I can’t figure out what …

    Two examples:
    1) The Arctic – a physically eerie place, nothing but ice and snow and darkness; so incredible magical and melancholic.
    2) Madonna della Misericordia, Madonna of Mercy, represented as a standing figure holding open her cloak protectively like a tent, providing safety and shelter to the needy and vulnerable, including orphans and other abandoned children.

    These “objects” fire an urge in me, but an urge to what?! I’m not yet sure what to do -

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