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Saturday, 5/1/10 – Where Stories Come From

There are so many stories to be told.

Stories of campfires on distant worlds. Stories of youth and maturity. Stories of mothers and sons and fathers and family and friends and …

So many stories.

When I first started telling tales I thought that it would be impossible to contribute one new one each day but I was wrong. The problem is not in writing a new one each day it is in stopping the flow of long enough to share one and only one per day.

Much of what you read here is not written, it is merely being relayed to you through me. The stories are being told by the characters themselves. I am just the scribe.

Someone asked me if my stories were true and where they come from.

Yes, all of my stories are true. It’s just that sometimes the truth is just an individual thread woven tightly into a fictional tapestry. So, when I tell you of Evelyn sitting on a rock in front of a campfire on a green planet in a galaxy at this time unnamed, you can believe what I am telling you.

To answer the question about where stories come from I will have to tell you about places where things happen differently.

Stories come from the place where time is irrelevant and events fold one upon the other like a paper fan. From a place where the chicken and the egg occur simultaneously and the story is born at the exact moment when the chick, seeking release, presses its beak againt the shell and the first crack appears. In that instant there are beginnings and endings and changes and momentum enough for a million stories.

Stories come from the silent spaces between clock ticks. A timeless place where it is neither now nor then. It is the point on the timeline where you can see both ends: where past, present and future embrace.

Stories come from the the unmapped place where north, south, east, west, up, down, left, right, forward, backward, inside and outside all converge. The point where compass needles freewheel and where a carpenter’s level shows true regardless of its angle.

Stories come from the place where the other side of the coin is the same as this side of the coin. Not that the coin has two heads or two tails, it has only one of each but when you turn it over you see the same side – the exact same side.

Stories come from everywhere and from nowhere. They come from the physical world around us and the fantasy worlds within us.

But, for me, stories come mostly from the characters themselves.

When things are quiet people I have not yet met cup a hand to their mouth, lean in close to my ear and whisper. They know me and they know that a whisper’s soft tickle is more effective at getting my attention than a shout’s cold slap. Once they have my attention I listen closely to what they have to tell me.

I sit unmoving as they talk. I ask no questions for I know that given time they will share all. I also know that they are fragile and that it is taking all they have to stay here and talk. If I interrupt my breath might blow them away or burst them like soap bubbles in a storm.

Some tell me their stories slowly, pausing to remember or to allow the significance to catch up to the spoken. Others tell them with a desparation as if the tales were hot coals that they have been holding onto and now that someone is listening they can put down those embers and dip their hands into a cool, clear stream and instantly be healed.

Invariably the characters become intimate friends. Our first meeting is the telling of tales but, like good friends, we never get too far along without checking in with one another. Some expand their tales, others just come and sit beside me. At times we all gather together, one happy family, and through our gathering invite others to join us.

So come along with me, meet my friends, listen to their words and find the truths that they have chosen to share.