An Effect of Storytelling

How important is storytelling in your life? If it’s important, is it necessary that the stories being told are yours or someone else’s? Do you need to live the story or can it be a work of purely imagination? Does it depend on the story?

In talking with my sister, I realized that with the two of us, there was an alternative perception at play, a difference of believed parental expectation distinctly affected how we found ourselves each forming our separate lives. She felt that she was the “good child”, living a life as expected and proscribed, and I wasn’t and I didn’t. From an early age she moved smartly towards a position of safety. My veiw was entirely different. From the time I was young, an understood ideal led me towards collecting stories rather than safety, in particular, finding experiences that enabled stories to be told usually led me away from positions of safety. It was a gift from the men in my life. Men told stories. They bragged about what they did and their accomplishments. What was also quickly discovered was that finding an experience wasn’t nearly as easy as creating an experience. Finding an experience takes either being open to opportunity, knowing where find opportunity, or just plain luck, whichever the case, there was more often than not waiting involved. Creating an experience on the other hand can be as easy as doing something as simple as drawing a picture, or dramatic, like skateboarding the Guggenheim Museum. Creating an experience is easy. It’s just action. No waiting necessary.

I hadnt fully realized that what was in play was the belief that if the things that I did, didn’t create stories that could be retold, that there was something amiss, I very much (unconsciously) believed that life wasn’t being lived in a manner that would be smiled on by those I’m in bid for connecting with. (Parents)

This didn’t just create the swirl of action around me, but also the type of action that I was drawn to was story worthy, and this was essentially manifesting action with cliffhangers (ie dysfunctional relationships made for good cliffhangers) drugs and alcohol (ie impulsive poor decision making was a go to for decades). There was lots of other much more positive experiences like love, friendships, raising kids, pursuit of understanding and making art… cooking…. but those stories felt perpetually dismissed and therefore I felt dismissed.

Blah blah blah.

How does this manifest in what I make?

What we make are stories. There’s obviously good stories that people are attracted to and common yet sublime stories, and there’s stories that aren’t worth telling.

To be clear, we are attracted to good stories, suspense. Cliffhangers. Action. Sex. Drama. The new. The unique.

…but we are also deeply attracted to the meditative calm of the sublime, letting an artist bring beauty to the common. A vase of flowers. A woman brushing her hair. A reclining nude in a morning window.

I’m not interested in making bad stories with what I’m making. Specimens pinned to a page… disorganized… muddy… bland… I’m interested in learning how to construct a story worth giving attention to, the machanics of skill will sort itself out with application.

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