Stories have always had a powerful impact on me.
Reading is the way that I connect to the world and stories or writing of any kind is one of the ways that I’m able to deepen or broaden that connection.
I have been writing a lot of stories lately.
Writing but not sharing them – at least not yet.
Sometimes, I become somewhat impatient and want the stories to come out perfect and flawless with rich characters and deeply laid and riveting plots.
But this hasn’t been my experience.
My experience has been slow and at times, it’s been agonizing.
Instead of pumping out precisely rendered prose, I’ve been writing and writing and editing and learning more about how this process works for me and for the art of storytelling. I’ve been learning how to tell the truth in my stories even when I can’t tell it to myself, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about how or if I want to share them.
I’m not sure it it’s important that people read my stories. In fact, I’m almost certain that it’s not.
But what is important is that people have a good experience from their interactions with me.
And that usually happens when I’m able to find peace in myself, with who I am, with why I’m here, with knowing what I can do to help instead of worrying what my purpose is.
I think I’ve said it elsewhere on this blog, but I’ll say it again.
Finding peace and having healthy relationships is hard work.
But it’s one of the things I’m happy and grateful to be working at. Writing brings me a lot of peace and when I’m caught up in something, hours and days can drift away.
The same thing happens when I read.
I wonder often how I can bring these two passions together better.
I’m getting closer I think.
For the most part, I write stories about the things that both interest and excite me, things that I have questions about or things that light me up inside and make my imagination run wild with imagery.
Not writing feels like I’m not really here - not really connecting back to the world.
It makes me feel like I’m missing something.
Luckily, I haven’t felt that feeling in a little while.
What I have felt, is this desire to take another small step and illustrate those stories or compile them into a little anthology and share them.
Even if it’s just for family and friends, I want the experience to be a fantastic one. Which is probably why I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of experience I have when I’m reading a book.
I just finished the book, The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
I loved this book.
I loved it because I used to play basketball in high school and I went to school for most of my life at a nearby community where I was one of only First Nations students.
I loved it because I love reading and writing comics and I understand what it’s like to try and navigate your way in a relationship that no one teaches you about – i.e. the treaty relationship.
I loved it because I could relate to virtually every aspect of it (except the fact that I’m not a dude) - to the close knit family, to the alcoholic family members, to the mistrust and loss of hope. To the kind of systemic racism that some people like to pretend doesn’t exist, that others fight against and that some people believe cannot be overcome.
To the feeling that you’ve somehow turned traitor against your own people because of the path your life takes and for showing how laughing often has the same effect as crying. But most of all, I loved that Sherman Alexie was not afraid to share Junior’s story.
It’s a story that I hope others are able to read and enjoy.
It made me realize that I’m not alone and that I want to let go of my fears too.
To not be afraid of connecting with people and to not be sad when connections don’t work out the way I wish they would.
It made me want to chase my dreams. To hope harder.
To write more.
To read more.
To listen and share more.
To strive for more.
It made me fall a little bit in love with books again and it made me want to read and find even more stories by indigenous storytellers. This is the magic of stories after all - the way they make you want to share them.
And that is exactly what I will set out to do.
Wish me luck!
And if you are a writer, I wish you all kinds of magic as well!