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I’ve been kind of runnin’ low on inspiration for blogging the last couple months. It’s been full on for almost three years now, and as much as I want to do The A to Z Challenge, I’m wondering if I need a break. I guess we all get there sooner or later. But I ran across something I wrote last October and I realized if I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t happy. So I thought I’d repost it to give me a little umph…

Why do we tell stories?

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate most on Word Press is the vast amount of writing talent that inhabits its blogs. I’ve stumbled across so much jaw-dropping content on here that I simply can’t take it all in. Poetry, flash fiction, short stories, three-line stories, pieces of manuscripts, essays, personal reflections… Whatever flavor of writing you like, you can find it in these blogs.

f924841fe145cb2849fb8450278f66a0Now let me ask you a question. Why do you write? I bet you’ve got a post on your blog somewhere that answers that to some degree. If you’ve done Blogging U’s Blogging 101 I KNOW you have! 😀 But did you take time to dig down to the root of your desire? (And I hear from authors that hoping to make a living off your work is really a pipe dream these days.) How did you answer that question? I think there are SO many reasons to write! (I tried to find just one good quote in my journal, but there were so many I couldn’t choose!)

Madeleine L’Engle, author of “A Wrinkle in Time”, the science fantasy story most SciFi fans cut their teeth on, puts it this way:

Why does anybody tell a story? It does indeed have something to do with faith, faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.

1528516I would be a liar if I said I’ve never wanted to write something that might be fairly eternal like “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Something that would be remembered long after I was gone. Or “Alice in Wonderland!” Or “Lord of the Rings.” I think all three of those books have something deeply meaningful to say to AND about people.

Muriel Rukeyser, an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism, once said:

The universe is made of stories — not atoms.

downloadI really like that one! A lot of us, when we begin writing or telling stories, start with the sharing of our lives. Our personal trials, triumphs, and transformations that reflect our vision of the world and our place in it. I personally believe that to NOT tell those stories can make one ill or cause them to self-destruct at times. Novelists James Carroll, Karen Blixen (also a Baroness!), Joan Didion, and Zora Neale Hurston all seem to have felt that way.

We tell stories because we can’t help it…We tell stories because they fill the silence that death imposes. We tell stories because they save us.” (James Carroll)

“All sorrows can be born if you tell a story about them.” (Karen Blixen)

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” (Joan Didion)

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” (Zora Neale Hurston)

But there’s also one more reason I think we need to write stories. Especially our own. Because as Tess Gallagher points out:

The past is not only that which happened, but also that which could have happened but did not.

Have you ever wondered what would have happened had you taken the “road less traveled?”

But regardless of whether you do or don’t, I hope if you HAVEN’T tried putting the words of your heart down to share with others you’ll give it a shot. I really can think of no better way to connect with other folks in our lives. And it’s such a relief to find out we’re not alone in our sorrows, but also in our happiness.

(It’s true, I’m afraid. I’m like a shameless carnival hawker when it comes to writing, aren’t I! 😀 )


Picture Credits:
Flannery O’Connor quote — www.pinterest.com
Joss Whedon quote — grimmwriterssociety.weebly.com
Therefore I AM quote — lissabryanff.blogspot.com
Isaac Asimov quote — smallcirclebigcircle.com