This tradition has been carried over from last summer: every morning we meet to discuss the day and these meetings will end with a poem or a few words of reflection. This morning Rick shared a passage introduced and read by Bob Smith during the timber framing workshop last summer in Sanok, Poland:
While the sign there may say Gwozdiec Reconstruction, I think it is important to remember that we are not reconstructing an historic structure. We are reinterpreting it; we are creating a fiction. And in this, I am reminded of a book I recently read by Tim O’Brien titled The Things They Carried. While ostensibly a story about the Vietnam War, it was more truly a story about the power and truth of story. What we are doing here is both creating a story and participating in a story.
And so, some of what Tim O’Brien had to say:
A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.
A good piece of fiction, in my view, does not offer solutions. Good stories deal with our moral struggles, our uncertainties, our dreams, our blunders, our contradictions, our endless quest for understanding. Good stories do not resolve the mysteries of the human spirit but rather describe and expand up on those mysteries
And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story
That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.
As you work, remember your story. Remember that you are now part of someone else’s story, and that what we are doing here is more true than the truth.