Psychology and sociology are two area I am endorsed to teach. You can’t study psychology (the individual) without understanding the society in which the individual functions. You can’t study sociology (the group) without understanding the individuals that compose it. Schank’s book reminds me of all of the psych classes I have taken - unfortunately, I prefer sociology. Schank’s book is analytical and a bit dry. I wish I had read it first, because I keep comparing it to the rich, warm narrative found in Suddenly They Heard Footsteps. While it is true that I prefer to eat dessert first, I find the opposite true when I study. My copy of Suddenly They Heard Footsteps is full of notes and highlights and I find myself reading sections of the book to family over the phone to explain, illustrate, and entertain. With Tell Me a Story, I bribe myself with M&Ms for each page I read. I tell you this because tonight I reached for Tell Me a Story with DESIRE rather than OBLIGATION. I had to do some re-reading in chapter 4. I was ticked at myself for not marking this book as well, but, in truth, I didn’t intend to re-read any of it - and yet, here I am. I prodded on into chapter 7 - yea, I’m still not finished with Tell Me a Story because I get sick of eating M&Ms. My inspiration to not only read but RE-READ sprang from this afternoon’s performance by Barbara Freedman. Allow me to explain.
Today Rachel and I went to see Barbara Freedman. We hung around after the show and talked with her. I found my self sliding back into my “home voice” as we spoke. Years of work on the radio cleaning up my southern accent is shot to heck two minutes after I sit down with my family. Barbara had the same effect. I felt comfortable talking to her. I realize there is something in that sound of our subculture that draws up a feeling, sort of an unspoken index that reminds a person of the old proverbs, home is where the heart is, and there’s no place like home. My reading tonight was actually more enlightening and entertaining than usual. As Schank talked about the I Ching, I was again reminded of the core principles of palmistry and tarot - people here what they need to here in epigram rich interpretations rendered. I re-evaluated my reaction to a comment Barbara made to Rachel. Rachel reminisced about the answer she had given Barbara about a blue box and confessed she had meant to write a full story but had not done that yet. Barbara told her to set a specific date for finishing the tidbits she was filing away or it would never get done. She said to quite putting it off and do it. Then she said God was a God of completion and when you finish what he has given you, you will not only be rewarded for your good work, you will also find that God will send you more inspiration. Dozens of past conversations came flooding back to me when she said this. I was also reminded of a conversation in the novel Night when an old man explains to Eli that it is an important concept in Judaism to recognize that knowing the answer is less important than knowing the right question to ask. I have been richly blessed and should work much harder in many areas. I think I heard what I needed to hear to discover what I already knew. Of course, statements like that are reason enough to read less Schank. But to give the Devil his due, Schank said it best in chapter 4 when he said, “It is likely that the bulk of what passes for intelligence is no more than a massive indexing and retrieval scheme that allows an intelligent entity to determine what information it has in its memory that is relevant to the situation at hand, to search for and find that information (84-85).” Hummmm . . . cool beans.