As you read this scream compliments of Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony (1977), may I offer some unsolicited advice?

Note how short and concise the sentences.

How simple the descriptions, details and dialogue.

The storyteller lets you create, see and feel a world of “murderous mischief.”

**Edited excerpt from Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977)

Do you know how evil came into the world?

It was witch people.

Not whites or Indians or Blacks or Asians or Hispanics.

Witch people.  

Witch people from all over the world, way back when, came together for a witches’ conference. In a cave. Having a good time. A contest, actually.

To see who could come up with the scariest thing.

Some of the witches brewed up potions in pots.

Some of them jumped in and out of animal skins.

Some of the witches thought up charms and spells.

It must have been fun to watch.

Until finally there was only one witch left who hadn’t done anything.

No one knew where this witch came from or if the witch was male or female.

All this witch had was a story.

Unfortunately, the story this witch told was an awful thing full of fear and slaughter, disease and blood.

A story of murderous mischief.

And when the telling was done, the other witches quickly agreed that this witch had won the prize.

“Okay, you win,” they said. “But what you said just now – it isn’t so funny. It doesn’t sound so good. We are doing okay without it. We can get along fine without that kind of thing.

Take that story back.
Please, call that story back.


But, of course, it was too late.

You see, once a story is told, it cannot be called back.

Once told, a story is loose in the world.

♥ Shannon

** NOTE: The elves over here in Story Land used a wee bit of creative license. I’ve tweaked a couple of “witch” things for readability, but who did it first and crazy well? The phenomenal Thomas King in The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (2012). Want to pig out on words scary good? Read Ceremony and King’s book too.