Lessons in Story

It’s been a busy few months. I anticipated pauses in this blog, but the lapse shows how frenetic things have been (or how my own tiredness). But doing my best to resume with quality writing, rather than just a concession to mark a day…

Yesterday was Pagan Pride in Nottingham. The fifth year, and I’ve attended every one. So many people (always more each time), varied opinions as much as outfits, ideas and reasons for coming along.

The talk I gave was about Priesthood, but in the course of it, one small idea stuck with me. It’s still there now, and so it is being caught in a WordPress net, to share – as seems appropriate.

We all tell our stories. We live them, every day, uncertain of what will come next, but having to face the adventures as they arrive in front of us. Good or bad, and often without any sense of overarching plot or control. But these are our stories, and none are as valid or invalid as any other.

Yesterday, I spoke with so many people, listening to their stories and giving a little of my own. Today, I’m exhausted – all that energy deployed in that rush of hours and chatter, shared hugs and space.

I force myself to work, though. I have to, or I find myself dragged down with the sense of ‘should be doing something!’ So I’m picking up review books that I’ve been asked to write about.

Today’s offering has gripped me and pulled me into its world. The review will come in full, but suffice to say it’s an anthology of fiction, short stories of such breathtaking originality that every one makes me rather wish they were longer (even though that might well spoil the effect).

Stephen King said that a novel is a relationship – a short story is like a kiss. Both intimate, but in different ways. Each story I hear from people feels similar, as they open themselves just a crack to show me secrets, thoughts, anecdotes… and so I listen. I may review these in my head, but I try not to judge.

The good stories stay with us. Every one has a lesson, and not necessarily the one you might think (even a bad tale reminds us not to do things that way again!). If we pause to consider, to listen and review, we learn. That relationship touches us, just for a moment… and there lies its value.

People in front of us or via computer screen, voices from the pages of the past or across continents. Me, now. What stories do you hear today, and which do you hold on to moving forward? And what stories do you tell?

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