I am a passionate person. How could I not be when I look around at the many fold beauty of my life? I’m passionate about art, about literature, people, relationship’s, forests, animals, gardens and just about everything I see when I hike or walk. Yet, the one thing that really moves my heart and warms my soul is stories. I love stories; the short little ones you hear at the grocery store, or while sitting on a park bench eavesdropping on two old friends discussing their lives. I love the stories of children, of veterans, and especially old people with one foot in the grave.
If there is anything I could contribute to my success as a writer it would be this passion I have for the spoken histories of my fellow beings. Nothing is more powerful than a spoken story, nothing pulls me in quite the same way as when a grey haired old lady leans into me and says, “You know what? I remember when that happened.” In moments like these I know my plans for the next hour just died a quick death because, right here-right now, I’ve got a life to listen to; a story to hear, words and images to memorize, transmute and rewrite into something solid, something real. In my own way I am recording the stories of life, my life, their lives, the lives of little old women with sharp blue eyes who have the time to spend forty minutes recounting the death of twins, the loss of a husband, the burning down of the old family home. I stand there, I listen, I offer my hand and my condolences because right here, right now I’m living, they’re living, and the stories must be told as much as they must be heard by a kind and listening ear.
If you mean to be a writer never turn your back on anyone’s story. Never tell yourself you don’t have the time to listen to that child in the too bright tea shirt who is telling you about his dog. Never ever walk away from an old person just because they may look a little strange, talk a little too slow or smell like sour milk. Stay where you are and take the time to hear them because sometimes when they open their mouths magic streams out. Sometimes they tell you stories so good, so sad, so riveting, that with a tweak here and there, you have a tale which is not just beautiful and heart wrenching but also very, very real.