Stories are Like Spiders and Spiderwebs

Stories are Like Spiders and Spiderwebs

Stories are like spiders and like spiderwebs.

That’s what Neil Gaiman thinks.

Or he does via the invisible narrator of the trickster tales found in Anansi Boys, his 2005 novel.

Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.

Congrats to Neil for his Newbery Medal, just awarded by the illustrious (and hard-working, long-into-the-night-reading) committee, for The Graveyard Book.

In praise of The Graveyard Book, Peter Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, said that “one might call this book a small jewel, but in fact it’s much bigger within than it looks from the outside.”

That reminds me of something Eudora Welty once wrote about the art of storytelling, how stories turn into something unexpected as they grow and swell with unseen forces: “In the end,” she said about the trick of the tale, “I tried to make the story’s inside outside and then leave the shell behind.”

As Welty herself described a Faulker story “The Bear,” it swelled up “like a balloon with forces invisible, so the time and space within the story is somehow greater than seemed physically possible.”

Time and space is caught within a tiny story . . . like we are caught, with all delight, by the gossamer webs of tiny Anansi, master storyteller and trickster, in the guises of Gaiman, Beagle, Welty.

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