Creating an EDAP is all about writing a new story for the community.

Transition in Action, the Totnes EDAP, has a section called ‘Why we need stories’, and it is all too easy to overlook the power of storytelling as a way of shifting perceptions. The crucial aspect with stories is that they fire the imagination like nothing else. Both writing and reading (and listening to) a good story can create some vivid images and visions of a place, however mundane or fantastic.

As has been discussed in various Transition books, stories shape our ideas and beliefs. We may feel that this is a little far-fetched, but take a look at the work of eco-psychologist, Joanna Macy. I first encountered her ideas in May 2009 in Brighton during Training for Transition. One idea that was explored was the Assumptions of the Industrial Growth Society. In other words, what are we compelled to believe on a daily basis about civilisation based on images, advertising, the news, the media and everyday conversations. The stories we tell ourselves revolve around ‘economic growth’, ‘growth is good’; ‘survival of the fittest’; and ‘business as usual’ as a few examples.

As these ‘stories’ show themselves to be well past their sell-by dates, they are still up there and accepted as ‘how it is’. Writing a new story for the community means using some creative ideas rather than using the same old ones, endlessly recycled and dusted-off.

Where better to start writing a new story for the community than inviting people to put pen to paper and come up with a vision of a positive future, beyond fossil fuel dependency, and based on our town as it could be in twenty years time? So, a creative writing competition asking for short stories, poems, spoof news articles and advertisements. How about an agony aunt column as it could be in 2035 when although the town’s population has generally come to terms with energy descent and embraced it, a few die-hard oil addicts find ways to indulge their habits, much to the despair of their spouses?

TTW’s Story Writing Competition is running until 21st October 2011