No, Ross, although I see how you might think that. You noticed that stories are not made of words, stories are made of units of emotional significance. Want and its frustration, loss and its redemption. And you realized that story is not painting (not that painting is painting either) because the reader takes part. When the little tailor kills seven with one blow and walks down the road to seek his fortune, the little reader has killed seven with one blow too and seeks his fortune too. So naturally having understood these two things you made a very natural mistake, Ross. You thought that the story put its hand around the waist of the reader and intertwined its fingers with the reader and together they made a dance.
But you made a very natural mistake, natural to those who live in ages when culture changes very slowly — so slowly that it seems to stay the same.
But in actuality although a dancer and her partner may whirl across a ballroom and return to the same place, when the story and the reader dance together everything is changing — the ballroom is being torn to pieces and rebuilt as an aircraft hangar and the floor beneath the is torn up and becomes a freeway on ramp, and every time they turn and return they breathe air full of chemicals that did not exist when they started dancing because the factory that made them had yet to be constructed.
So, could the story be a journey? A dancing journey that the reader and the story take together?
It could be, and it must.