In response to today’s writing prompt: Saga
To me, the word saga means a tale or story. I picture Norsemen sitting around a campfire telling stories, their helmets lying on the ground beside them. They talk of their battles; the successes and the defeats. I picture them passing on knowledge through these tales.
It reminds me of a recent book I read. It is an entertaining saga by E. Michael Bosso called Cherisse. What strikes me about Michael’s tale is the way the conflict develops between the married couple and the interaction with a third person. In my opinion, the interaction between Mary and her husband, Steve. The book is told from Steve’s point of view and we watch as he transforms himself and other’s around him.
Steve and Mary don’t know how to talk to one another. More importantly, they don’t know how to listen to one another. They are constantly thinking the worst of one another. As a married couple, they have grown distant and are only going through the motions of being married without any of the joy they once had. Their communication patterns are classic. Instead of saying what they feel, they reply in sarcasm and retort. Even when they try to bridge the gap, they don’t take the extra step to open up and talk to each other about how they really feel.
In this novel, there is a third party, Cherisse. She acts as a witness to their interaction. In a way, she acts as a mediator, but not an impartial one. Cherisse tries to tell them indirectly through her own life history (her own saga, if you will) how important it is to listen to one another. She especially tell’s Steve again and again that he needs to LISTEN, something he struggles with due to his own faulty assumptions.
What I love about this story is the transformation that takes place in Mary and Steve’s interactions — how it moves from not being able to talk to one another, to breaking down completely, to building back in a positive way. This is an excellent example of how transformative mediation transforms the interactions of people in conflict.
Although Cherisse is not a mediator and has a bias, she still acts as a neutral party to the conflict. Also, all of the work ultimately is done by Mary and Steve who finally find their own way through the conflict. Once they start to recognize each other’s different needs and ways of doing things, they become more empowered to act in a different manner and open up to more possibilities in their relationship.
This is why I say that listening is a skill. It can help keep our relationships positive and build new ones or repair ones that have cracks. And, the saga can continue. Conflict breaks the continuity in our relationships, listening builds it over generations. And the beat goes on…