Bibliomancy: Salman Rushdie on Complexity

Bibliomancy collects insights and observations about the marvels of the reading and writing life, words that could aptly describe the reasons Atelier26 exists.
“In Kerala, he watched a famous storyteller work his magic. The interesting thing about this performance was that it broke all the rules. ‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King of Hearts had instructed the flustered White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ‘and go on until you come to the end; then stop.’ This was how stories were meant to be told, according to whichever king of hearts had made up the rules, but this was not what happened in that open-air Keralan theater. The storyteller stirred stories into one another, digressed frequently from the main narrative, told jokes, sang songs, connected his political story to the ancient tales, made personal asides, and generally misbehaved. And yet the audience did not get up and walk out in disgust. It did not hiss or boo or throw vegetables or benches at the performer. Instead, it roared with laughter, wept in despair, and remained on the edge of its seat until he was done. Did it do so in spite of the storyteller’s complicated story-juggling act, or because of it? Might it be that this pyrotechnic way of telling might in fact be more engrossing than the King of Hearts’ preferred version—that the oral story, the most ancient of narrative forms, had survived because of its adoption of complexity and playfulness and its rejection of start-to-finish linearity? If so, then here in this warm Keralan night all his own thoughts about writing were being amply confirmed.” –from Rushdie’s Joseph Anton (p.80)

See also: Jeanette Winterson on "What Is Art For?"