One Story, One Song by Richard Wagamese
We are all story, and all part of a larger story, says Richard Wagamese in this book of reflections, and it’s our responsibility “to live out the best possible story of our time on this earth.” Drawing on his skills as a storyteller, with prose at times poetic, Wagamese share his thoughts on the human story, under the themes of humility, trust, introspection and wisdom.
In “The Puzzle,” he writes a beautiful parable for daily life. As a way to occupy his son, a father tears into pieces a magazine photo of outer space and tells the boy to put the puzzle back together. The son completes the task quickly. How so? The boy explains that it was simple; on the other side was a picture of a man. “So I put the man together first, and the world came together just fine.”
Wagamese uses story as a vehicle to transmit wisdom. Writing of an elderly school teacher and the bullies in his class, he shows what it is to be honorable. A bear foraging on berries reminds him the world needs our protection. As a boy, teaching himself baseball after enduring embarrassment and shame heals his spirit. Lovers of Native teachings and literary writing will enjoy Wagamese’s heartfelt and inspiring meditations on the power of stories, how they strengthen us, and how they shape our lives.
Journalist and poet Richard Wagamese is Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Ontario. Douglas & McIntyre, $16.95
–Reviewed by Diane Holcomb, EastWest Bookstore