Mundane Narratives

The world is full of stories.
We can read about them in bestselling novels and newspaper articles.
We can watch them on the big screens in full color.
We crave those narratives of success, heroism and perfection.
We long for cohesion in a world that seems to fall apart, sliding ever deeper in chaos and confusion. Things are supposed to make sense. 

So we polish our lives on Instagram, put another filter on what seems so dull otherwise. We brush up our stories to make sure we only tell the good parts.

But isn’t life more than this?
Where do all the ordinary, dark and tough stories find their place?

The other day I had an epiphany when an old friend visited my parents.
They hadn’t seen each other in about twenty years, so there was a lot of catching up. Kids had grown up and gotten married, houses and jobs had changed, hair had gotten a bit grayer.
There were these stories about big life events and all the good stuff.
But then the friend pulled out her cell phone to show pictures and something remarkable happened. The big stories were replaced by ordinary images of daily life.
A bike ride on a Sunday afternoon.
A piece of delicious cake.
A butterfly on the living room wall.
A sunset on a normal Thursday evening.
Every picture had a story and we got to hear these unusual narratives because the images came up. Seemingly forgotten days were suddenly in the spotlight because someone decided to talk about them.
Moments often considered too ordinary and mundane to tell were pulled out of the shadows and declared holy.

Pictures we take on the go can become wonderful stories of the mundane if we take a moment to pay attention to them.
To the sun that rises so beautifully in the mornings and makes my early commute a little bit more bearable.
To the soft gushing sound of the river exuding an atmosphere of peace.
To the poster that catches your eye and makes you smile as you rush to the next appointment.
To the flowers that add a colorful note to the gray in gray backdrop.
To the old house that makes you wonder about the stories it could tell.
To the smell of freshly cooked food that reminds you of a night out in good company.
To the many faces and stories that so often go unnoticed.


Let’s be storytellers.
Let’s be attentive listeners.
Let’s discover the hidden wonders that are already out there.
Let’s pull the forgotten moments and people out of the shadows (or our phone’s gallery) and declare them holy.
Let’s collect narratives of the mundane.

For the month of October I will be a storyteller. I will browse the forgotten photos in my gallery and tell the stories that are so often lost in busyness.

I have invited friends to join me and you’ll see pictures of ordinary lives from ordinary people. You’ll hear mundane narratives that might change your perspective on life. Simply because someone was willing to share from the shadows and declare it holy.
And you might be challenged to become a storyteller yourself, to look at your ordinary life differently. I would love to hear from you!

Welcome to 31 Days of Mundane Narratives!
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Author: Katha von Dessien

Teacher. Believer. Third Culture Kid. World Traveler. People Lover. Writer.

15 thoughts on “Mundane Narratives”

  1. This is my favorite five minute Friday post this week. I loved all of it. I want to read your stories. I have always wanted to read a whole book of stories like so. 😄

  2. Storytellers and attentive listeners. What a beautiful combination! You’ve helped me focus on this and I’m going to make it a point to see the beauty in the mundane, at least for this weekend. (It’s a start!) Visiting from FMF#41

  3. Ooh excited for your Write 31 days series. THIS: “Moments often considered too ordinary and mundane to tell were pulled out of the shadows and declared holy.” I’m in the 11 spot this week.

  4. What a fun series! All too often we do the ‘Christmas Letter Highlights’ and forget to remember the story behind the pictures :). I look forward to reading some of your stories!

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