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                                 Issue Number 4; Fall 2006     

Reviews Author Biographies Pedagogical Spotlights Feature Articles

Telling Stories—Writing Lives

For centuries in Ireland it was the bard—the storyteller and musician—who kept the people’s history, the people’s identity.  The bard was given pride of place around the hearth and people walked for miles to hear of the teller’s journeys, of their journeys, of their place in the natural and supernatural world.  So it is in many traditional cultures, and although the travelling bards were men, in many traditional cultures it is the wise women, the mothers and the grandmothers who keep and tell these stories. I am pleased to see that research is returning to story as a way of sharing not only local truths and individual beliefs, and collective professional experiences.  It is through telling each other stories and reading the stories of others that we are able to find kindred spirits, to vicariously experience different lives.

Telling each other stories leads us to envision how our own experience could be different.  We empathize with those who speak of pain and celebrate with those who show us their passions.  The real value of narrative for me, is the ability to see through each others eyes, if only for a moment to glimpse another world.  These glimpses may challenge us to transform our assumptions about the way things are, affirm our practice and our own struggles, and lead us to envision, not how it “should” be, but how it “could” be.

I am pleased to introduce these contemporary bards and their stories included in this special edition of GEMS.  Read their stories and allow not only their words, but their voices to speak to you about your own voice in your practice. Narrative research is not only the work of the researcher, but of the reader.  It is not only in the words that they use, but in the spaces between the words that your truths will emerge.

Lori-Anne Dolloff, guest editor

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