Daily Archives: April 22, 2013

Types and Patterns?

Why call this site “Types and Patterns?” Not a title that sings, by itself. As it happens, I borrowed it from a poem:


The First and the Root.
From mine unfathomable Will
The universe hath its beginning.
In my boundless Wisdom
Are the types and patterns of all

This is from the chapter on the Fool, fromĀ “The Book of Tokens,” by Paul Foster Case, a 20th century author on the subject of the Tarot (you can learn more about his work from his society’s webpage, here). His was a very appealing interpretation of the Tarot (certainly, appealing for artists). I wasn’t interested in the Tarot for its own sake, however; I encountered this quote while researching an essay on this site (here). “The Book of Tokens” was used by those writers to help clarify a particularly difficult turn of events in their own story, and as it turned out, their methods help clarify a lot of things about storytelling, to me.

So for me, this dry title evokes this site’s subject: problem-solving when it comes to understanding story structure. The Fool is a good starting point, and a touchstone in navigating the currents of someone else’s story, or your own. According to Case, the attributes of God, when projected onto an ordinary man, matches the common description of a fool, and to be sure, anyone in the role of storyteller (or someone trying to decipher the methods of a storyteller) is in the position of being both divine and human at the same time. Hence, a fool. Or as Case describes it: “the inexperience at the beginning of all life,” whose virtues are “originality, audacity, and venturesome quest.”

The quote above seems to describe a God-like wisdom: but in mortal terms, it seems to describe the exercise of creative power, which eventually leads us, artist and audience, somewhere beyond ourselves.

So it seems wise to start with this card on the table.