Chapter 7: How This Natural Storymaking Process Was Cut Off

by James Bonnet

So, what happened to this natural storymaking process? Why was it cut off? Why are stories with this kind of power only rarely, or accidentally, being created?

While I would be the last person to attack the virtues of the written word, the fact remains that when these old great stories were finally written down, a serious thing happened. They stopped changing and evolving. They stopped growing. This natural creative process came to a dead stop.

I have a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales on my bookshelf. The stories in that book haven’t changed in well over a hundred years, not since the Brothers Grimm took them out of the oral tradition and wrote them down. The Old Testament on my bookshelf hasn’t changed in over twenty-five hundred years. In time these stories lose their relevance and their effectiveness. They still contain the same wisdom, if you take the trouble to hunt for it, but the average person no longer sees their relevance because the metaphors haven’t been kept up to date. So they don’t easily get the message. The knowledge they need to make these journeys is lost to them.

If Cinderella, for instance, had remained in the oral tradition, it would have evolved into a modern, contemporary story like Pretty Woman, and people could see more easily how it relates to their lives.

Now, it is, in fact, true that this evolutionary process continues on today in a modified form. There have been dozens of different, written versions of Cinderella, and Hollywood is constantly remaking or updating old movies, many of which are based on stories that originally came out of the oral tradition, but this represents only minor increments of change. And, furthermore, because of Hollywood’s bias toward entertainment only, the stories are corrupted rather than advanced, their hidden wisdom is polluted or leached out rather than being enhanced or intensified. As a result they lose most of their power and meaning. Disney’s Snow White, Pinocchio, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast seem like happy exceptions. So, if the natural creative storymaking process is not, in fact, dead, it is very nearly so and desperately needs resuscitation.

My solution to this problem, as I mentioned earlier, involves teaching you how to emulate the natural creative storymaking process and put all of your conscious and unconscious creative powers into your work. I do this primarily by showing you how to use the creative process, the language of metaphor and a sophisticated story model to bring powerful hidden truths to the surface.

There are four great secrets hidden in this book. And this is the first: The author of the great myths and legends is inside you. And I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean it literally. The intelligence and wisdom that created those old, great stories is inside you. You can get in touch with that source and make that precious knowledge and the power that goes with it come alive in your work. And, if you combine that power with a contemporary realism and character, you can create super powerful stories that have a significant impact on the world. And you can make yourself very successful and perhaps even whole in the process.