Saturday, July 26, 2014

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Being at Home in a Storyworld
When authors create the storyworld in a short story, they become precisely what their function as writers implies—Creators. They bring into being lands and people that obey the laws of nature that most people commonly experience and observe, occasionally with some highly imaginative transformations. This storyworld with its landscape and culture resonates with readers because they, for the most part, also share and observe the same laws of nature as the writing creators do. They can, to some extent, feel at home in the storyworld, enough so to engage with the characters, if not completely identify with them.

This commonality among writers and readers in their shared experiences and observations exists on the layers of their consciousness. The writer and a reader may not have had the exact same experiences or made the same observations in their lives, but the commonalities that exist because both are human beings establishes a level of shared being-ness. In the Science of Consciousness
[1], Maharishi describes pure consciousness, which he also calls pure being or pure intelligence, as the source of all creation, the source of all the laws of nature. When readers enter a storyworld, whether it be a nineteenth century American village, a twenty-first Chinese city, or a futuristic colony in space, they are able to adapt and feel at home in this fictional world that arises from a common or shared consciousness. 

It is from this level of consciousness that meaning arises. As reader response theory posits, meaning doesn’t just exist in the text or even in the writer’s mind; meaning, to emerge fully, requires the shared commonality of consciousness between writer and reader. The reader enters the storyworld the writer has devised, looks around, notices salient features, receives emotional impressions from the images experienced, and finds meaning in how the characters exist within this world.

 

Think, Draw, and Write Prompt: Think of your favorite short story, and draw a picture of the storyworld that provides the stage for this story. What features of the landscape are significant to the events of the story? What common experiences (from the mundane to the dramatic) do you as the reader share with the characters in this story?

Images:

Erupting Star Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech Retrieved on September 20, 2013 from http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA12008

Girl Reading: Author:martinak15, License:CC: Creative Commons, Retrieved September 20, 2013 from http://en.free-photos.gatag.net/2013/08/11/010000.html

[1] The Science of Consciousness, as established my Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, provides a theoretical understanding of the nature of consciousness and also provides the technologies to experience pure consciousness and the growth of higher states of consciousness that develop with continued practice of these technologies.

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