Tuesday, May 4, 2010

we must share stories

While working at the local coffee shop, I saw a lot of people going in and out. We had regulars, we had the neighborhood kids who would hang out, and we had those two or three who were true friends of ours. One in a particular - a man whose age I still don't know (but he's told me about calculators he used that were half the size of a desk) - would hang around the shop during the slow hours and talk to me. I spent hours listening to his stories of growing up and going to college and graduate school before I was even born, and working as a physicist. He liked telling stories about how things were. He liked telling funny stories - like one about a guy who drove to school in a tractor just to be different - and he told heartbreaking stories - a professor gone over the edge after voices in his head told him to kill a janitor. In the routine sameness of coffee shop work, it was a welcome transfer of knowledge and emotion.

In my last post, I asked (rhetorically or otherwise) what the purpose of storytelling is. We connect with characters that have nothing or everything to do with us. We cherish myths - ancient or modern - for their abilities to teach lessons, transport us away from the here and now, and fill us with a general feel-good feeling. We do it because we can, yes, but we do it because we must.

Chaya commented on yesterday's post with basically what I was going to say today, except that she said it better and more succinctly than I would probably have managed to do.

"We were made to tell stories. It's part of our life, our being. Stories shape our souls, influence our actions, and make our heroes.
Our lives are a story. Sometimes interesting, boring, or devastating, but still a story. And life stories are what make-believe ones are created from.

It's not strange.
Everyone must tell stories to survive."

With words or images, songs, art, poetry, or conversation, we must tell stories. More than that, though, I think. It wouldn't be enough if the Greeks wrote their stories and then hid them away or destroyed them. We must share stories.


When I wrote yesterday's post, I intended it as nothing more than a snapshot of what has been going on in my head lately. Of course, it's spread to a second post, and more thoughts. I've been told that it's a waste to spend time on the what-if's and conjecture. I've also been told that fiction is evil. I disagree.
God loves stories. He writes them all the time, and sometimes they're like a Lois Lowry book - bittersweet at the end. I point you to the Bible. I point you to Jesus' teachings. I point you to your own life. All written for a purpose, all meant to be shared - we humans are not solitary creatures.

This needs a third post.

While I'm letting it form, answer these: What is myth? Is there a Greater Story?
And tell me a story of your own. Long, short; anonymous comment or email.
Stories are for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Fellow Sharpie(s),
Thank you Tiph for that second post - wow.
I agree with Anonymous and Chaya - Thank you both for putting it so beautifully.
God made us to tell stories.
The whole Bible is filled with stories - it is one big story - of humanity.
It contains romance, adventure, intrigue, mystery, sorrow, heartache. The pure beauty of the willing sacrifice. The bittersweet poetry that links us to those people long ago.
This is OUR story. The essence of how history began and how we got where we are today.
Not only that, but we were created in God's image. The Master Story Teller gave us the gift of creativity. Humans are meant to create.
Music, drawing , painting, writing , speaking, film, photography, needlework - all is in the fiber of our being.
I am one who loves the words, and all the wonderful forms they comes in. Myths are close to my heart, the fantasy and thrill that surrounds them just gets me. Real stories get me too.
My Hungarian grandfather ran from Nazi Germany as a young boy and came to America to be free.
To this day when I to hear him talk the escape,
hiding in haystacks in barns and fleeing the only home he ever knew...
Words and feelings penned or spoken are a medicine and life-giving source. We NEED them.
Your coffee shop guy reminds me of him and the amazing nostalgia that only comes with experience and age.
Rest assured, there is a Greater Story and friend, we are living it.
I await the third post.

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who i am!

Tiph used to be this weird hippie chick who sewed things and drank tea and rode bikes and wrote silly things. Then, college came along, and now she's this weird hippie chick with math in her brain and notebooks full of indefinite integrals. And hardly any time to write. This is her space. Thankfully, space is a vacuum and any complaints you may have cannot be heard.


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