The Happy Writer, Writing Discussion

We Need Stories

We need stories that make us feel safe.

Words that rub a soothing balm on old raised scars, or take the sting out of fresh ones, that offer threads of hope to a waiting seamstress, like a lullaby, or a bowl of soup on a cold day…

We need stories that make us uncomfortable.

In their insanity, in their insipidness, in their heartbreak, in their dry dusty pages, in their hate, in their millions of crazy ways, mirroring in the way we hate, or love, or despise, or cringe, or long for. The pain, the itch that troubles, is always something true, a sign of growth, like a new tooth ready to come in, or it is kindling to a fire that leads to action. Because the truth is not always safe…

We need stories about different kinds of people.

The CEO embezzling from his company, and spending his cash on a collection of pez dispensers.
The boy down the street, that thinks he can hear dogs speak.
The old woman in Mongolia, who wonders what her life would be like if she never married, and never had children.
The man in Taiwan with too many pairs of shoes…

Because when we give up ourselves for a moment, and look through other eyes, once we get past the first cringe, the anger, the laughter, the discomfort, the absurdity, the plugging of the nose, the view is not always so different, and also different. There are as many worlds, as there are people…

The world needs all kinds of stories.

Only you can be you, there’s no one else, there’s no backup, and when you’re gone there’s never going to be another. Say what you want to say, don’t let fear hold you back, or we’ll never know, what might be lost because maybe, just maybe, there’s someone else out there waiting for your words, to stanch the bleeding of a heart, to  see the splinter in the foot, or like a ladder to climb out of a dark pit.

21 Comments

      1. It is sad… but I suspect that those people are still getting story from somewhere. Places that require less input and mental/cognitive investment than in books (but which, of course, also tend to have less return on investment).

      2. T. S. Bazelli Author

        Yup, mostly TV and movies I’m guessing. My Dad, for one, I can’t recall ever reading a book of fiction as long as I’ve been alive (aside from reading to us kids when we were young).

  1. This was just a beautiful piece, Tessa. Well done!

    Stories that make us uncomfortable can be important too. Discomfort doesn’t always mean bad. Discomfort means something in us has to change before we can be comfortable.

    Here’s to stories!

    (Oh, and an idea for your next blog post…We need plants, too. Just to put a bug in your ear. Have I plugged that already?)

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Yes you’re right! (about discomfort, sometimes it means boundaries or attitudes need to be reconsidered)

      Hee hee, nice try with the plant propaganda, but I can see right through it. 😉

  2. I’d particularly appreciate some stories about those hefty millionaires that gets me to understand or sympathize with them. Most writers seem to fall in the easier territory of making them jerks or rockstars.

  3. This is a really lovely piece.

    I believe we need stories to help us sift through all of our confusing emotions. They can help us make sense of things and give us a different perspective.

  4. Hey, have you shared this before? If not, I’m having déjà vu… @_@ heh. In any case, thanks for reminding us of the significance of stories!

    In defense of movies & TV shows, though, the best ones do still make you want to think, discuss, etc. with others in a way similar to books. (My mom is not much of a sci-fi fan, but even she was mentally involved when my whole family decided to watch the entire, newest, Battlestar Galactica series together. The religious references were enough to keep my devout Christian-of-a-father talking for weeks…) Storytelling transcends the medium of the written word, manifesting in not just movies and TV but also video games, artwork, music–even dance. Not to mention the various possible combinations thereof! Creators in these different mediums just go about storytelling in different ways and, as with writers, with different intents. (Heck, if it weren’t for some movie adaptations, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought to try out the original books!)

    …Not that folks aren’t already aware of this. Just sayin’. 🙂

    1. Nope this one’s new! LOL

      Definitely agreed. Stories are important, no matter what medium is used to convey them. Maybe one day in the far future we won’t have books at all, but I’m sure we’ll always have stories in some form or other 😉

      1. I’m kind of curious what they might become someday… or change to… its already changing, and maybe one day there won’t be paper books except for collectors editions…. just kind of musing. I wonder what I’ll think when I look back on this all as a grandma 😉

      2. I don’t think books are going away, but things are definitely changing. People compare books to LP records, but LP records existed for a few decades and books have existed for centuries, so they’re much more deeply embedded in our culture. But I wrote about this on my blog recently, my realization that I’m really attached to stories, more than I am to books: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=2927 (and the couple of exceptions, where I am really attached to paper books).

    2. Very good point. A few years ago a friend mentioned that people are buying more nonfiction books and fewer fiction books, and he worried that this meant people were less interested in stories. I pointed out that the opposite is true in movies, for example, where documentaries are a specialty niche (usually) and almost all popular movies are fiction. So, as you say, people are getting their stories in different places.

      It’s funny about the adaptations, though. Sometimes it goes the other way. When I really love the movie (as with Let the Right One In, for example), I don’t want to read the book, because I know things were changed, and the movie was perfect for me.

      1. I usually balk when a book I love is adapted for film or TV. I’m afraid it might ruin my appreciation of the book if it’s done poorly (and that has happened), but the same goes for the other way around, loving a movie, then being disappointed by the book afterwards. The latter happens less.

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