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February 10th 2009

Dear Storywise Friends,

Welcome to a new year of work with the Center for Narrative Studies (CNS) and our first 2009 Exploring Narrative Newsletter.  You may have signed up to receive this on our website, or we heard of your work and wanted to be of service.

We have been a research driven resource center for the growing community of narrative practitioners since 1995, and have witnessed an amazing growth in the use of stories for community and organizational renewal. For ten years, CNS has been putting these ideas into practice in the crucible of peace-building, with our work with the young leaders of Northern Ireland and Ireland.  Having recently completed that work, we are back ready for the next mission of taking the narrative  method from the community hall and corporate board room to the more critical councils of public life. 

President Obama recently promised a new level of accountability which for us means the ability "to give a trustworthy account" of what decisions are being made, why and with what results. In this time of new beginnings, America  faces hard but exciting challenges to  build a new story, and to act out of that better story which Lincoln said emanated from 'our better angels.' And having recently returned from abroad, I know other parts of the world  have never been so invested in America's project to reinvent itself and resume the role of  international inspiration and example. So the times are ripe for our work.

CNS aims to produce a regular newsletter  and we look forward to engaging you, our readers in this forum.


The lead The Headline Muse will touch on the surprises we find in the stories or events of the day.


In the Republic of Stories, we  will apply a narrative critical method to matters of  world and state, the stories where Washington DC is the setting or the hero, or the villain. We want to inject a narrative critical voice into the conversation about governance and citizenship.


Narrative Matters revives our old hard-copy newsletter of the 1990's to keep you informed of books, resources, people and ideas that we believe keep our thinking on narrative current.

We would love to hear from you, learn about your work and your particular interest in narrative so we might better support your work.

Please feel free to contact us, or send any feedback to paul@storywise.com.

Happy President's Day,



The Headline Muse

Stories of the Inauguration

This season of new beginnings is almost over . The Inauguration was an amazing week long celebration, and close to two million people who were on the Mall will long remember it. But the most inspiring moment for your correspondent was a little kid who couldn't see  anything. Read on  Awesome Noah, Awesome!

If you are in DC, come to Golden Fleece Feb 17th and share your own Inauguration stories., or send them to us at paul@storywise.com. And don't forget the Smithsonian StoryWeekend April 16-19th 2009

picture copyright storywise.com

In the Republic of Stories

Why Stories are costing us big money!

"What we the public are being treated to is a theatre of the absurd. Though no one knows for sure how we got here, we are being asked to trust the government to lead us out. We are taking actions that are dangerously over-informed by stories of past economic crises that may or may not have any resemblance to this one. If this is the old problem,  then why all the panic about how to address it?"  Read on Are we locked into an old story?

Narrative Matters

ANNOUNCING NEW STORYWISE BOOK Narrative Critical Analysis of the Election

Never before in any election have pundits, campaigns and the media used the term 'Narrative." They sounded like they knew what it meant, but by November 2008, it had become just another cliche. CNS Director Paul Costello was determined to rescue "Narrative" from the talk-shows and pundits and has written a fascinating study of the election in real time, mapping the stories and their interplay, and arguing that the story that elects a President is NEVER the story they are telling. The real story of America is the one that has "We the People" as  its hero. To sample a chapter or purchase, go to  "The Presidential Plot"


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