Stories focus on anomalies—events that go counter to expectations. When everything goes as you expect—the sun comes up, spring follows winter, the airplane works flawlessly—there's no story. The regular recurring events of our existence are simply the way things are. They are unremarkable. To have the basis for a story, we need something unusual, something different, something out of the ordinary, something strange.

It has been so since time immemorial. The distant puff of smoke might mean a forest fire. The faint roar of a lion might mean an attack on the village. Tiny deviations from the norm attract our attention so we can take preventive action before it's too late. Paying attention to apparent anomalies ...

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