This essay is one of more than a dozen in this volume to honor the late Mary Margaret Steedly. The paper’s theme is “audience” and considers Steedly’s two-part charge of “how to audience.” First, look for stories that do not follow the script, ones that exist beyond the mainstream. Such stories are not neat and do not offer consistency and closure. They do not deliver a lesson or moral, but their very messiness, their uncorralled excess, carries potent possibilities. Steedly’s second charge is to attend to the interactive sociality of narration by assuming the roles of both speaker and listener: ”… how do we convince our audiences that our stories are compelling?” All of us are not just tellers of stories, our own and those of others. We are the hearers of those stories, and it is in our listening that the worldmaking potential of stories can flourish.


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pp. 57-63
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