Re: Learning from History LO2060

Barry Mallis (
12 Jul 1995 13:37:08 -0400

Reply to: RE>>Learning from History LO1987


I have in included at the end of this posting a piece of the return
message you wrote to me some days ago about a thought to have a kind of
continuous story in this list to which, somehow, anyone could contribute.

Lily Evans suggested the importance of bringing in enough diversity to the
"story" to encompass more than European and North American society and
culture. Yes. That's a clear objective. I'll take a few minutes to type
aloud again about this group story I envisage.

First of all, I am not certain if this story-telling can be done over the
Internet, but the only way to find out is to try the idea on, wouldn't you

Title: "The Organ Story"
Place: Small City
Time: Now
Principal Characters:
1. A Woman who works in an organization of 25 people
2. A man who works in an organization of 250 or so, located on the same road
as the woman's organization.
3. An organ grinder, with monkey, who stations himself on the road in sunny
weather to play music and make his or her living.

Action: The collaborative story we create will track the man and the woman
(an Organ Player) as they interact with their organizations. Their problems
may be universal enough in their descriptions to provoke the interest of
virtually any reader (mythic quality?).

Details are certainly allowable, with an stipulation that contributors
avoid conscious cultural stereotyping. I think what unconscious typing we
bring to the story line will provoke enough comment as is.

Purpose: Case studies are wonderful, effective, useful learning
instruments. Also, some participants on this list have provided insights
into dialog and story-telling as another insightful instrument for
improvement and realization. The attempt of this collaborative story
would be to break the usual pattern of myth creation in life by forging
one of our own. By using examples of behavior from business organizations
and other kinds of organizations, we would seek to capture human
interaction in order to draw "tacit" understanding from the story.

No pontificating, no 12 steps, four charts, six volumes, guide books,
field books, conferences, workshops. Just the story. Reaction in
parallel would always be appreciated and sought after. But the story
itself might be woven for as long as writers'/contributors' wells didn't
run dry. That might be a week of a month, or never!

How we do it: Someone begins the story. Like a version of the game of
telephone, subscribers read the one page of story. Anyone can pick up the
"typing stick" and continue the story. If multiple people continue the
same "chapter", great. If another individual begins a new "chapter" in a
subsequent posting, fine.

What will happen: You got me.

Who can "play" at storytelling: Anybody

When could we start: when two or more people willing to commit to the
start stated so.

So that's my idea as I've just conjured it up, Tobin. I wonder what other
lurkers, lingerers, lovers of leaving think. Worth the risk?

Best regards,
Barry Mallis
(603) 352-1130 ext. 2578

(Tobin's remarks below)
As to your idea, I like story-telling myself, and enjoy writing. I haven't
taken the leap to writing "about people" yet (except in children's
stories) and am intrigued by what you suggest. I'm not sure how it would
work or why, but I would be happy to see what "emerges." It might turn
out to be something as evocative in its own way as the dialogue on this list
is. We could always try something in "deep background" channels if
necessary to avoid "injury" to others on the list....

Any other interested players?

Tobin Quereau