Story Torque

steering wheel

I was sitting down to write my 1000 words a day when, with perfect timing, my 18 year old son emerges from his bedroom.  I stare at him until he smiles and says ‘Good Morning’  It is 10.30am on a Tuesday and he has two more Year 12 exams to sit, but none today.  

‘Do you know where there is a small screw driver, like a really tiny one? One with a flat head?’ He asks

I tell him to look in the shed and he wanders off. He comes back with three small screwdrivers.

 ‘And what has this got to do with your Physics exam?’ I ask

In the smarty pants way of 18 year olds he says ‘It means I can apply torque.’ 

I unsuccessfully try for a play on words, and then ask ‘So what is torque anyway? Isn’t it energy?’ 

‘It’s force, force that turns something.’

I immediately think of stories, stories that spiral inwards, to show us something of how it is to be human, how we experience the world, the events that happen, our reactions and then our reflections.  It is all a form of story torque, a spiral or circular force that spins us through a sequence of events to come to the same place but with new understanding. 

Wikipedia tells me that torque is ’the tendency of a force to rotate an object around an axis’  

This seems to me to be a perfect definition of the the story wisdom process.  Story crafting is the force that enables us to explore, circumnavigate, see from a different side, the events that occurred, all the while not changing the events but turning our view of the events, enabling us to reflect, and create a new position from which to see our life.

The torque metaphor for story work could, it seems, be taken a lot further - there apparently is negative torque and positive torque, but apart from wanting to keep this simple, it would require someone who got more than 12% in their last physics exam, but if you have your own spin (pardon the pun) on story torque, I'd love to hear it in the comments below.

And in the meantime, the next time you start to craft a story, think about the story torque and see where you end up.