It is all in the story.  A plain human truth.  It sounds so simple.  
When I hear a story, I study its parts and packaging.  I don't work very hard at it.  It is built into me.  I care about the craft of story.  I consider a story's structure, delivery and meaning to decipher its strengths and flaws. And I invent a hundred stories a day.  I see a couple walking or a neighbor comes up to my back gate, and I immediately build a story. (Remind me to tell the actual one about the neighbor, it's not bad.) Lots of us do this, I know.  It takes very little information to get started.  I mean, stories write themselves, eh? 

I surround myself with great storytellers.  And they are all so different.  Some of them finesse the structure of a story brilliantly and are captivating from beginning, middle to end. They are often well-rehearsed storytellers, honing their story with every tell.  And for them, the pleasure of unfolding the escapades or tragedy are so great that repeating the story is the least of their concern. Especially if it is a memory to relive in the telling. My Dad is like this. Some storytellers take on a character and focus on the delivery of a moment. I am most like this, I think. I do pretty decent imitations and love to shift between characters in a story, especially as it builds, but I don't care as much about the structure when I do the telling. And I love the banter-style, circular story-telling where you journey down tangents before coming back to the end. I know artful storytellers that summarize beautifully and it hardly takes any time at all for them to deliver a great story in all of its essence - punch line and all.  We all have heard stories with all of the parts that also just don't come to life.  No matter how poorly, or even well, it is told, no one cares, or some other variation.  But it doesn't matter, in a way, because they have to tell it. Telling the story is more for them than the person listening. And if we are not natural story tellers, than we are audience. Many of us are both.  Everyone needs story.

My proclivity is to take story too far in my mind.  (As my therapist reminds me.) I take bits from separate moments in life over time, reading subtext as I go, and I build a story. To me, it isn't entirely fiction.  I hear past a person's words and I perceive history, identity and intent. Hello? I can't help it if all the parts are just sitting there for the making. It's like puzzle story-telling. And I am good at it. Maybe I am a really good guesser. As a party trick, after solving the puzzle in my mind, I am willing to go (and have gone) to get the 'real' story. My versions often hold up. And the closer that I am to someone, the deeper and more complex the stories are and the faster I can read them. Maybe I picked it up from hanging around a car dealership as a kid. Maybe it is cultural. Gimme a sec, I'll give you a story. To answer everything. (Here in lies at least one rub.)  

The point to make (today) is: I love building this non-linear narrative. I get a lot of satisfaction from this process. I wish I could deliver stories in the way that they come to me, to revive the process. 

Yeah, sure, my favorite process of story-making is my strength as well as my curse. When a documentary of my mind isn't working out, I don't mind switching it over to fiction. Sometimes I lose track.  I start spinning like a top from the tragedies that I write in my head. Happily, I also spin madly with the comedies that come most often.  

I wonder how I can translate my puzzle process into a piece.  I started down that road with the "Make haste slowly" installation but barely scratched the surface. I want to recreate that temporal, visceral perception and convey the moments that make the story.  And I want it to work.  Most people who care about story feel that their way is the best (or only) way.  I am not one of them.  I like all forms of story.  I want to practice and develop them all.  But this is the style that intrigues me most.     

1 comment:

trena said...

Happy birthday, my friend! Looking forward to celebrating next month.