Josna Rege


In Notes on December 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm
Ancient Storyteller (Amrita Sher-Gill, 1940)

Ancient Storyteller (Amrita Sher-Gill, 1940)

As yet another year draws to a close, I have compiled a list of the TMA stories to date that are about storytelling. Now, obviously TMA is composed of nothing but stories; but these are stories about stories and the power of telling and re-telling them. I have also included here stories that my parents have told me and—cheating a little—stories about books and reading, particularly reading aloud.

As my favorite writer Doris Lessing used to like to remind us, we are storytelling animals. Storytelling makes us human. We process and make meaning of our experiences by telling them to ourselves and others as narratives. And, as Salman Rushdie continually reiterates, it is of crucial importance that we tell the stories that are our own personal truths so that they are not eclipsed by more powerful narratives that seek to colonize our imaginations.

There’s an organization dear to my heart called massmouth, dedicated to the ancient art of storytelling, “sharing our common wealth.” If you want to support live, person-to-person communication in this world of digital mass media, consider making a year-end donation to massmouth here.

Everett the Ice Man

Chickens on the Pot

A Nice Bit of Spanish

My Grandmother

Grandpa Victor and the Story of the Tomatoes

Sucking Lemons and Quoting Shaw

Curb Your Enthusiasm: A Bedtime Story

Party Pieces

My Garden of Forking Paths

Хоттабыч in India

I once was lost (and wish I still were)

The Kurta Joke

Orwellian Jingles

So Many Things have Disappeared

Talkin’ ‘bout My Generation

Emil and the Detectives

Finn Family Moomintroll

The Iliad at Bedtime

O, Oh, and The Wonderful O

The Potters’ Tale

Censorship at Bedtime

On Making Things Up

Welcome Home

Interior Design


Variations, Variety, Vocab

Krishna’s Butterball


Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

  1. Josna – first, what a lovely piece of art you selected to accompany your post. I want to cross my legs and listen to the weave of a tale in the midst of that image. Thank you for the list – I will enjoy some re-telling over the coming weeks from these treats you offer.

    • Isn’t that a beautiful painting, Sammy? It’s by the early-twentieth century Indian (half-Indian, half Hungarian) painter, Amrita Sher-Gill.She lived less than 30 years, but produced an impressive body f work, which has been very influential. When my son and I were in India last summer we had the good fortune to go to a large exhibition of her work which spanned her whole painting career and it was stunning. Here’s a link to a little more about her:

  2. Hi Josna
    I felt my whole attention fasten, as the writer above says, on to the ‘weave’ of your opening remarks. The subject of story-telling is, indeed, a fascinating one.

    • Yes, E, storytelling is magic. It’s what we all do, isn’t it? Apparently it’s programmed into our brains. Endlessly fascinating. But we can also weave narrative webs that we ourselves get caught in, stories that we make up and come to believe.

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