Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Story, part 2

[Note: My apologies for the lack of posting the last two weeks. I was insanely busy and then out of town. Here is part two, and part three will be up on time next week.]

"Story is seldom true if we try to control it, manipulate it, make it go where we want to go, rather than where the story itself wants to go." Madeleine L'Engle

If we take our stories seriously, we must also take them humbly. What do I mean by that? Very simply, I mean losing a sense of undue proprietariness. Many writers talk about the stories they write as choosing them, rather than the reverse. Obviously for a writer there is a sense of pride in a well-told story, a job done properly. But if we remember that in some way the story exists outside of us, that we do not own it, we can be humble. Rather than stamping our feet and shouting "Mine! Mine!", we have a sense of wonder and joy at this thing which has graced us.

How does all of this relate to real life? In the same way, if we remember that the story of our lives here are parts of something bigger, something which we do not own or control, our tendency to kick and scream is reduced. Rather than flouncing and saying "It's my life!", we can live it, shaping it as best we can. At the same time we can feel that sense of joy and wonder which comes from being trusted with something we do not own.

It is only when we stop trying to control our stories and start trying to listen that we can really begin to tell them as they ought to be.

Part 1 here.


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