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  • Writer's pictureKevin Cordi

Around the Corner...

Barbara and I often travel to places because we love the discovery. A few years again we traveled to Barcelona and embraced the street performers, Gaudi, and Dali. We do our research but since she and I have training in improvisation, we often say yes to discovery. The same was true in Austria, we traveled to Salzburg and entered the gates to Zwergelgarten or "Dwarf Gardens. "

I had read one line about statues that had been returned and some still missing. This stuck in my head. In off and on again rain bursts, we walked through the gardens that had 100,000 bright, wake you up flowers. We stood to marvel at the Pegasus bronze sculpture that was in front of the castle, the same one in the "Sound of Music."

As we walked we stumbled into Zwergelgarten. In a circle there stood the statues that made me instantly think, why are they here? Why are only so many here and others missing?

I read they were auctioned off and eventually brought back. The statues had a life history of over a period of 320 years.

Walking and stopping at each statue, I notice this is not a portrait, but instead an unfolding story. One dwarf carefully holds a chicken, while another stares strongly at something in the sky. They are telling stories and I can see it unfold.

You know when you are in a place that not only tells a story, but invites one. This is one such space. We see the marble that captures the spirt of each dwarf. A long time ago they were entertainers for the castle and it shows still. However, the ground itself is open to stories. It is not only from the circle, but people walk and narrate what they see. As someone who works with a "narrative mindset," it is rich joy when I see others use their narrative mind to unfold what they see and experience.

Upon doing research, most of the marble statues are solo, but there two statues that clearly compliments each other. They are playing a game that was popular during the Renaissance, known as Pauline. You can see the excitement of the game watching the two play together.

As a writer or teller, this reminds me if we relax, we leave room for play, there is always something around the corner. I am reading an upcoming book from writer/storyteller Steven James and he says all stories must have pivots to hold command. This is where the story takes a direction the reader or listener doesn't expect. However, I remind others that we need to be in a state of readiness to allow us to take the path where we stumble on the dwarf garden. Instead of saying, this is not the place I wanted to go, go there. See where it takes you, perhaps your muse lives there and is waiting to have tea with you.

As I wandered in the garden I was struck with knowing that only 17 marble statues were returned when 28 was created. It said it was created during the time of Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf Thun. They were even banned from the gardens. Instead of forgetting this, I turn around the corner and wonder:

Who is this Archbishop and what did he have against the Dwarves?

I wonder, perhaps they went to realm to avoid the Archbishop but was trapped because they couldn't remember the words to get back?

or going around this corner, perhaps one Dwarf knew, but this is the way he helps power and secretly went back and from the realms.

I guess I will have to keep going around the corner not to find the straight path, but the crooks in the road that lead me to the discovery.

AN INVITE: This invites me to ask you to consider the story you are working on writing or telling and deliberately lose the 'wild mind' and let the story ideas flow. After a certain episode us, "what if I look around the corner, what can I find?" Write it down, tell it out loud. In the story making process, we play, we experiment, we practice and we take risks and we go around corners so we can see many sides of the story. We might just find a dwarf that holds the words that gets you to the next road, but I hope it is crooked one so you can take time to experience it.

I invite you to share the results in the comment section or send it to me. I have enjoyed the conversation about these place based ways to move your story. Your conversations encourage me. You can send to Send me some of your work or drop me a line. to let me know if this helpful. We would love to listen.

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