Story. Ocean. Desire. The Day They Came Home

“He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity…these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different stories, and all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story…” Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1991

‏All there can ever be – stories. All that there are – oceans. All we have – desire. In Aeschylus, the Oceanids listen in sympathy to the story the bound Prometheus tells, and it is one of desire. Not simply to be free of his own chains, but to remain true to the liberation of humanity from its darkness. In Rushdie, stories emerge from the Ocean of the Streams of Story that Haroun battles to save from the forces of silence. He battles to restore, not simply the story-telling art of his father, but from this, to bring his mother back home. Story. Oceans. Desire. In Lacan, that weaver of theory of desire, of stories of subject, we are engaged by the agalma, that inestimable object of desire. It is the quality within and beyond the surface; it is the treasure we seek.

‏These three elements – story, ocean, desire – come together in the short fiction writing competition – The Day They Came Home, that supports the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens. It will be for the writer to weave these strands together; to speak of emancipation, not simply in return, but for what that return will mean, what it will engage and liberate in us.

‏This is therefore a plea to you, dear reader, to pledge to the competition. Each pledge to fund the competition is a hand that dips into the sea of stories and stirs the currents of invention. It will break the surface of refusal and be a propellor that agitates the currents in the streams of stories. Each pledge creates the desire for the very ocean itself, the medium to navigate the Parthenon Sculptures to their home.

Tom Kazas

Coordinator. The Day They Came Home Writing Competition