Why do we tell the stories we do?
For me, I’m a traveler, so it isn’t writing about my hometown or any one relationship…. or is it?
The settings I choose can be as diverse as the passport pages I’ve been blessed to populate, but that lens has been refined for all of my forty-plus years.
Ever changing, changing still, that lens affects everything I see, or at least how I package those memories for later.
For there is just too much to see these days… (in this dismay, I pray I’m not alone).
There is so much to record that my life, like my Facebook, has become a series of Save for Later cataloging, and even this is problematic.
For those moments -like unfinished blog posts, if I’m honest – seem odd and misplaced when returned to later.
This has always been the case. Kind of. But where seeing an old high school girlfriend used to cause a Place in Time moment, I now feel confused re-engaging whatever felt important last Wednesday. Such is our newsfeed, retweet, headline world.
So, how then does one settle on a story, when all the stimuli constantly remain in motion?
For me, a story is a snapshot.
Often it is easier to write about a place I no longer reside, because by leaving I have imposed a pause on my sense of that place.
I’m not so sure it is different when we recall a memory.
We all have stories that define us, but these too are in motion.
Even those most sacred mileposts – a family tragedy, a kiss in the park – are adjusted to both the time of recollection and the person to whom we are trying to tell the tale.
What can be difficult is the fear that these micro-adjustments are somehow inauthentic.
Listen: Changing with the times and adapting a story to an audience is the essence of authenticity. (It’s the Luhrmann/Gatsby principle, and you don’t want me to go into that again…. Fine. comment if you would like an explanation.)
Trying to convey what matters to us in a way that it might matter to another is THE purpose of our craft. Supposedly there are now-famous writers who were not concerned for their audience, but I either questions to what extent that is true or flat out disagree with their pompous approach.
For me, this is therapy. And if I cannot tell a story in a way you might understand, then I’m not a very good host… and I certainly won’t be able to release whatever made me need to write in the first place.