"The only map my father had on his journey was the story his father had told him years before..." Georgiana Valoyce-Sanchez, "When the Ancestors Whisper: Stories from Native California" (2007)
While doing research on a story for the novel I'm writing now, I came across Georgiana Sanchez's powerful description of her father's map home. Her father was a wonderful storyteller, and she often shares his stories in performance with her family.
Why am I writing a dissertation about storytellers and cultural literacy? because that's what I do. In my creative stuff, in my scholarly stuff, it's all the same. How we use stories as a map to get us from one space to the next. How we use the stories of our ancestors to lead us one place to the next- it connects us to where we have been, where we are, and where we need to be.
from my novel in progress:
The patterns weave the sky in the tear of a glittering body, a curved leg of the grandmother. In the sky, she rises over misted reflections of rain, of clouds called by jimsonweed, wild alata, and sage. We will remember to look west, and the land where the sun makes her return, we follow out of desire, out of necessity, out of fear. For warmth and blessing and the calling home of our spirits to the place we shall all be reunited with once again. Crawling out of the earth, reborn into the balance of love and death by the ladder of mud, stone and clouds, our gazes hold with the great mother in the sky, her love mending the torn centered edge, bearing the stars home on the back of her shell, given freely when the time comes for us to be reborn.