Monday, January 26, 2009

telling stories

Later today I'll be leaping into a project that has been simmering for a couple of years. I have a cast of characters, a setting, the first 2-3 chapters, and finally the sense of conflict that will drive the story.

Two days ago every project was shrieking my name, but after doing some barn chores yesterday the din settled and this story's voice won out. This is the first book I've started that didn't already have a title and an ending scene, and I've discovered that having something to write toward makes it easier to get going. I also know that once the pen is on the page, or the fingers are on the keys, things begin to happen. I just have to listen.

Meanwhile, the stories here: Keil Bay's neck lump has disappeared. The pony is moving well. Cody is feeling good. Salina is in fine spirits and the donkey boys are chipper and sweet. We have a couple more cloudy days but thus far very little rain, and the ground is a bit more solid beneath our feet. Not quite dried out, but getting there. The temperature spread is such that they won't need blanketing all week.

Corgis and kit-meows are all existing peacefully and keeping life interesting. As I was writing this post, the Mystical-Kit got up on top of the kitchen cupboards and made his way onto the top of the one above the refrigerator. There's an opening there, I guess for venting, and I heard a scrabbling of cat claws, agonizingly long, and then silence. I hadn't seen him up on the cupboards, and after he fell there was no sound. I guessed he might be back there, and heaved and pulled until the refrigerator was out of the cubby it fits into like a glove. There was Mystic. I was writing, and fortunately some part of me was listening.

I was thinking this weekend about the need to tell stories. We all seem to have that desire on some level. Jung said something about that:

The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.

Interesting that I spend some of my time telling stories and another chunk of my time listening. Not just in my therapy office, but everywhere I go. People seem drawn to tell me their stories. Usually I think "I don't have time for this. I do this for my job, I don't want to do it in the grocery store too." But then I listen. Because they need to tell it, and I usually get intrigued in spite of myself.

It's important to listen.

This week, in a tribute to balance in the new year, I aim to do both.

Writing makes a map, and there is something about a journey that begs to have its passage marked.

-Christina Baldwin


Grey Horse Matters said...

Interesting post. So glad you were listening and heard the kitty fall, I'll bet he's happy you were there to rescue him. Glad also that everyone is doing fine and Keil Bays lump is gone.

I know what you mean about listening to other people's stories too. There is seldom any place I can go to without someone coming up to me and telling me their life story. I find it hard to be rude, but sometimes I just don't have the time and during the story am looking for a way out. I've never figured out why people do this to me, it's happened in airports, stores, bars etc...

Your new book sounds like it will give you many hours of fulfillment as you write on to discover what the end will be.
Have a lovely day.

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene. So far it's being a wonderful day.

Victoria Cummings said...

I think that good listening is an art form. Thanks for the thought provoking quotes. I'm glad that you're writing again. Not knowing the ending is a bit like dancing with a horse at liberty, isn't it? You just have to be open to anything that happens.

billie said...

Writing like a wild thing now that I'm here. And the wind is blowing something fierce outside right now, which is fueling the writing frenzy.

Wenda said...

Though each of your posts merits a comment of appreciation from me, I've not wanted to arrest the flow of my catching up on reading what you've written. This post, though, leaves me stilled in thought with a shiver of inspiration. Thanks.

billie said...

Wenda, I'm glad you found this one - I know it means something special to you, as it did to me. And it was nice to read it again today for the reminder that I have let my edits sit long enough now and should move on with incorporating them so I can get on with that newer story I'm telling. :)