I published one of my favorite articles so far on my local "news" page on line yesterday.
This summer has been so filled with travel and family that I have been sidetracked from my writing job - the one that pays something like 2/3 of a cent for every visit to my pages. I have produced at least one article a week, but that is down from the 3 per week from the early part of the year.
That's okay, though. It was an active choice, which always makes things feel better. Now I am beginning to feel ready to write some more - and this recent story helped me to define my motivation.
What I really enjoy about writing, and reading, is the stories. A few years ago my son spoke at graduation about stories - how each one of his classmates had his or her own story. Their stories overlapped each other during high school, and now they would each go off to continue the next chapter on their own.
Now and again that idea comes back to me.
When I was young, taking one of those occasional trips into New York City from my suburban home, I used to marvel at the huge apartment buildings that we whizzed by on the train. Each one of those windows, I thought, has a person behind it, a family, a story with drama and excitement and love and tears - or a little girl looking out the window at this train going by, wondering who is on it.
My mind wandered in the same way on a crowded highway. In my own car was my own world - my sister, my parents, my dogs, my stuff, singing silly songs, playing the alphabet game with road signs, headed somewhere wonderful, or fighting over who got to sit in the front for a while, or spotting familiar landmarks. Then I'd look at ALL THOSE OTHER CARS. Does each one have so much world in it, like ours? It overwhelmed and fascinated me.
Every person, every commercial venture, artistic production, community event, has a story behind it. Some are more interesting than others, certainly, but it is the stories that fascinate me. And "behind it" is the accurate way to express the idea. On the surface you just see a man or a woman, like thousands of others. You see a storefront, a logo, a photograph, a creation. To get the story you have to go deeper. Sometimes you find gold, sometimes you find a snakepit, but it's generally a lot more interesting than the public face.
The other interesting idea that my son expressed in his talk about stories, if I remember correctly, was the idea that in at least a figurative sense each one of us is a writer. We are the authors of our own story, which will unfold sometimes according to our own plan, but sometimes take on a life of its own. And each story inevitably overlaps with other stories which come and go from the chapters of our own tale.
All the world is a woven fabric of stories. I'd love to unravel some threads and tell a few of them.
(It's amazing how still Clara sits when I have dog treats in my pocket)