cover image Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

Mark Yaconelli. Broadleaf, $24.99 (244p) ISBN 978-1-5064-8147-0

“All human divisions... can begin to be healed through listening and sharing stories,” writes Yaconelli (The Gift of Hard Things), the founder of a nonprofit that helps communities organize storytelling events, in this poignant meditation. Telling one’s personal story can help with grieving, making sense of the past, and spotlighting injustice, Yaconelli posits, and the stories that follow, many from his nonprofit work, exemplify “how speaking... can liberate us individually and collectively.” In one instance, an 18-year-old’s powerful story about visiting her father in jail before he was deported to Mexico humanizes the danger of listening to “fear-based, one-sided” narratives. In another, a grieving community gathers a year after a school shooting to discuss how “those lost and wounded are loved”; such events have led to that community growing closer in the tragedy’s wake, Yaconelli writes. The author also shares his own experience as a child, when he learned to “speak in compelling sentences and dramatic plotlines” to hold his father’s attention and “garner his love.” The vignettes are in turn heartbreaking, funny, and consistently well written. The result is a moving testament to the power of confession. Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Aug.)