In fact, this post has nothing to do with the book, nor with the "That's good, that's bad" style of story. I just like to have a picture and this was convenient.
What I really want to write about is a question I had from one of the teachers at the European School of Brussels today. I did two performances for 13-year-olds. At the end, as I usually do for this age, I asked if they had any questions. In the second set, one of the teachers asked one:
Is the storytelling about the story or the action of telling it?
I didn't quite know how to answer this. It's about both, to me, but he wasn't satisfied. He rephrased it:
Is it better to have a good story told badly or a bad (or mediocre) story told well?
I had to think about this. Neither. Why not expect excellence every time?
I've heard good stories told badly and it sets my teeth on edge. It's awful to hear a story butchered. This afternoon, that was the response I settled on. Now I'm thinking about stories that were told very well but in the end had no substance. Though they were told in an engaging way, I didn't remember what they were about later. They had no impact.
What do you think? Is this a question worth asking?