Monday, February 4, 2019

#35 / The Shortest Distance

I have come to have a paticular fondness for the pamphlet form of publication.

Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center located near Philadelphia, publishes a series of "Pendle Hill Pamphlets," and I subscribe. Every couple of months I get one of these pamphlets (or sometimes two). Each one is on a Quaker-related subject. They are on the order of thirty pages apiece, more or less, and that means that I can promptly read them, in one sitting, and then file them away for future reference.

I have been a subscriber to the Pendle Hill Pamphlet series for years. Each pamphlet must be no more than about 1/8th of an inch in thickness, and my past editions take up just over three feet on the shelf. In checking, I find that the first pamphlet I have is No. 47, titled "The Nature of Quakerism," by Howard Brinton. This is a revision of Pamphlet No. 9, originally published in 1949. The one I have was publsihed in 1962, which is probably when I started subscribing.

Much more recently, I have come across "One Story," a publishing enterprise that delivers one short story each month. Again, this pamphlet style of publishing makes it easy for the reader. You sit down, read the story, and you never lose your place or forget what you were reading because you have had to put down your longer book to go have dinner, or to get some work done, or to take a walk. One sitting is now about the full stretch of my memory; at least, so it sometimes seems to me. The stories are pretty good, too!

The latest Pendle Hill Pamphlet (No. 454 - "The Healing Power of Stories" by Michael Bischoff) had a line which really caught my attention. It's worth repeating:

A story is the shortest distance between two people. 

That does sound about right to me. And according to Bischoff, telling healing stories to oneself (and to others) is actually an avenue to healing itself. 

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