At last Wednesday’s “Wildcard” session, after we’d covered the “assigned” topic for the evening (publication, updated, new thoughts, etc.), Nicole asked “Before it gets told, is it a story?”

We had about fifteen minutes worth of fun with that, including the obligatory “Well if it isn’t, what is it?” some neuro-psychological musings, and the literary equivalent of “Ok if Big Bang, where did whatever blew up come from?” But as often happens with the mind riding (or lurking) in my brain (or wherever) the question lingered in the background of all the tasking and tinkering of chores and projects in the days since. It may have been acting up while I was asleep as well but I have no idea about that.

Looking for a new tagline quote for the blog this morning, I came across this from Ursula K. LeGuin:

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.
– Ursula K. Le Guin

And that’s fine and dandy but it ignores the fact that before it’s little black marks on wood pulp (or whatever alternative appropriately updated to accommodate the technological advances (one hopes) since UKL wrote that) it was something else. Something in a writer’s mind that drove the recording of the little marks. And if it wasn’t a story, then what was it? Is “the writer” the analog to the “reader” when it comes to the transformation of “whatever” precedes the “little black marks” into those marks? Or into the psycho-linguistic elements that those marks represent?