Cover image for Inviting the wolf in : thinking about the difficult story
Inviting the wolf in : thinking about the difficult story
Niemi, Loren, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Little Rock, Ark. : August House, 2001.
Physical Description:
192 pages ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR72.3 .N54 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A difficult story is any story whose content makes it challenging to tell or difficult to hear. Told for the wrong reasons, it can be as painful for the listener as for the teller. But as we know from literature and media from Sophie's Choice to The Sixth Sense, told properly, a difficult story can powerfully alter not only he who tells it, but those who hear it.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is a "Difficult Story"?p. 7
Who Benefits from a Storytelling Approach to the Telling of Difficult Stories?p. 8
What We Are and What We Are Notp. 15
1 The Need to Shape and Artfully Tell the Difficult Storyp. 19
Story: "By the Grace of God," Loren Niemip. 24
The Value of Speaking Truthfullyp. 32
Personal Meaning and Shared Meaningp. 33
Story: "Demeter and Persephone, 1984," Elizabeth Ellisp. 35
The Value of Speaking Artfullyp. 40
Story: "Mitterand's Last Meal," Loren Niemip. 41
2 Self-Censorshipp. 47
3 A Consideration of Some Basic Principlesp. 55
Trustp. 56
Permissionp. 58
Ownershipp. 59
4 Traditional Storiesp. 61
Story: "Mister Fox," Elizabeth Ellisp. 63
The Gift and Shadow of "Modern" Retellingsp. 70
Story: "Hansel and Gretel," Loren Niemip. 71
5 Historical Storiesp. 79
Story: "Mary McLeod Bethune," Elizabeth Ellisp. 83
-isms of All Kindsp. 88
6 Emotional Timelinesp. 91
Jealousyp. 92
Story: "Just Perfect," Elizabeth Ellisp. 94
Story: "Seeing Miss Julie," Loren Niemip. 99
Griefp. 104
Story: "Thom's Dream," Megan Wellsp. 106
7 Structural Elements Used in the Creation of Storiesp. 115
Tonep. 116
Point of Viewp. 119
Story: "Hannah on a Summer's Day," Loren Niemip. 121
Point of Entryp. 126
8 A Wickedness-Loss Continuump. 131
The Continuum as Story Treep. 132
The Seed Storyp. 139
Examples of Wickednessp. 142
Examples of Lossp. 148
9 Overarching Structural Elementsp. 157
Emotional Arcp. 158
Story: "Slaughter House," Tim Herwigp. 160
Moral Frameworkp. 166
Story: "The Rug," Loren Niemip. 167
Story: "Political Prisoner," Elizabeth Ellisp. 172
10 Confidentiality, Community, and Practicep. 183
Bibliography: Difficult Stories and Spiritualityp. 187