This paper draws from two research projects where the power of dominant discourses to influence storytelling was evident. Drawing on examples from story workshops central to the research, I discuss my use of collective biography to facilitate the re/membering of embodied experiences. While stories give access to the complex nuances of personal experience that give rise to the metaphor ‘life is a tapestry’, healthy subjectivity is often measured by the understanding of the self as coherent and whole. For this reason the metaphor provides a caution – stories are not innocent, naïve representations of lived experience but are shaped to coherence by narratives that may elide transgressive experiences. Dominant socio/cultural discourses and narratives can colonise imagination and memory to effectively silence or sideline the complication of ambiguities and ambivalences.The combination of a collaborative storytelling process and the use of place as a framework facilitated diverse stories. The knots and tangles of disparate experiences sustain the breath of life in narrative representations of the women’s lives. The resulting peripheral view of dominant storylines is a useful, if not a necessary aspect of personal narratives as research data.
Recommended Citationde Carteret, Phoenix, Life is a tapestry: a cautionary metaphor, Current Narratives, 1, 2009, 23-34.