It seems a given for me to say a big part of life is sharing stories with one another. I am a writer after all. Every fibre of my being seems wired to weave narrative tales to evoke wild imagery in one’s mind, even when I’m not trying to. But works of fiction are only one type of story. Equally important are the meetings of minds, the struggles in life, and the joy we can help each to other find.
We are the protagonist of our own tale. The lead character of a story that goes where we take it. This is an exciting prospect. If we keep this story to ourselves, we miss out on opportunities to create something bigger, something far grander. Sharing stories means more than simply the telling of a tale of something that happened to us. It means inviting others to be involved in our life just as we seek to be positively involved in theirs. It means passing on experience of decisions we’ve made, both good and bad. It means spending time together and reminiscing about exciting adventures past and those we plan to take in the future.
I am an extroverted introvert. I need time to myself to recharge my social batteries, but I do suffer if I spend too much time alone. Friends and family enrich my life more than I can say with words. (It is an odd thing as a writer to feel I don’t have the words to describe something.) I like watching live sport and with the right people even the most tedious game is something to be enjoyed. By myself it would definitely not be as much fun. Letting others in gives us different perspectives on things. Since I started writing short stories with my dad I have learned a lot. I’ve learned some of what makes a good story. I’ve learned about effective communication towards a common goal. I’ve learned about putting effort into important relationships in my life.
In my twenties I would often find myself questioning whether I should go to a social event, whether it was with a small group of friends or a wider group I didn’t know so well. The alternative was staying home and playing a lot of video games by myself. I chose this option more often than going out. Thanks to the availability of voice chat I can at least now talk with friends while I play and engage in connection with other human beings. When I did move out of my comfort zone to meet new people in person and further my relationships with existing friends I learned a lot. Listening to others talk about their dreams and finding the courage to share my own pushed me along the path towards becoming writing more. If I hadn’t let others into my life and really pushed to deepen those relationships I might still be spending much of my time playing video games, by myself. I’d be missing the human interaction necessary for me to live a healthy life.
In our lives we have been through a lot. The obstacles we’ve faced and struggles we’ve overcome have given us valuable life experience. We can share what we’ve learned to help others avoid making the same mistakes we did, and to find their way through difficult situations. By sharing anecdotes from our own life we can figure out new and better ways to do things, to streamline processes without reducing the quality of the work we do. I’ve played ultimate frisbee for fifteen years now, and have learned a lot about throwing technique along the way. Not every piece of advice will be helpful for everyone, but by offering my experience from when I was in a similar stage of learning, others will be able to identify how to critique their own technique and improve on their own. On the other side of things I have a lot to learn about writing and publishing. By listening to the stories of others, and learning from their mistakes, I can hopefully make good decisions in my own journey to become a published author.
While we aim for the stars it’s important to keep ourselves grounded in reality too. We must remember the good times, when something we planned in the past went well. Whether it be work related or an enjoyable social event, stories of time well spent with good friends can lift us up when we’re feeling low. These stories also provide inspiration for the future, for adventures yet to be had. For me as a writer, they serve as ideas for new pieces of fiction I could write. Drawing from experience and writing what we know can mean the story is more believable and relatable to readers. My job working in the non-profit sector has even given me an idea for a story titled ‘Super(annuation) Hero’. It’s a silly, and just an idea at the moment, but my brain is ruminating on it.
Thus we return to the meaning of the word ‘story’ that is most readily applicable. The art of describing adventures through exciting narrative and evocative writing. They can be fiction or not, embellished or controlled, fantastical or thrilling or adventurous or biographical or …any combination of these as well as myriad other genres already available and those yet to be thought into existence. When we find a book we enjoy it can be difficult to put down—even if we have a pressing engagement. While writing stories this is my aim, to draw the reader into the different world so they feel they are part of it.
This is a great goal for life, too. Spending time with those we care about doing things that fill our souls to the brim with joy. When I do this, I find I am better placed to share kindness and love with the world. I am better able to harness my gifts to write compelling stories.
What are some of the stories in your life? Have you had opportunity to share these with family and friends? How might you spread kindness through your gifts?
Peace to you, dear friends. I pray you find the stories that only you can tell, and that you find the courage to tell them.