WRITE THE DAMN STORY
“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” One of history’s most famous quotes was a single line, beginning a monologue from Shakespeare’s, ‘As You Like It.’ Indeed a truism with each player, part of a story. Thus, countless stories within a bigger one, that we know little about. We know an old man who lives next door is a military veteran from the ball cap he wears, that reads KOREA. When face to face, we thank him for his service because it is politically correct and makes us feel better about ourselves. Oh, we’re not being disingenuous and we truly mean to pay tribute but unless someone writes a book about him, we’ll never know his story. How could we? Well, we could ask.
Everytime someone passes away, their story goes with them, unless preserved by us. Every elderly person who dies may not have been a swashbuckler or war hero, although their memory of it may be close to it. But stories are not all about heroes, at least the type we’re accustomed to hearing about. It’s about an old woman having an impromptu meeting with a little girl and spending twenty minutes on a park bench, teaching her how to tie her shoes. It’s about a school teacher grabbing you by the scruff of the neck and telling you, “if your goal is to be a moron, you’re goin’ at a pretty good clip.”
Stories are about us, that and the other. There are no limitations in stories. You can learn from stories, be entertained by them and you can kill time with them waiting at an appointment. A rabbit can be fifty feet tall and report to a normal sized mouse. An adult might read this and retrieve fond memories from their childhood, while a child may see that even though s/he’s small they are still very important.
If you write professionally, you may have more restrictions. If you are making a living writing mysteries and are building an impressive readership, it probably isn’t the time to branch out with a “Do It Yourself Gardening Book.” Your diversification is probably best put on hold until to are, “James Patterson” successful. As an amateur raconteur you can write whatever the hell blows your hair back. Flash fiction, short stories, hell if one of your tales grabs you right by the short hairs, stay up all night and see where it takes you. Maybe a novel, maybe a caffeine dripping stack of drivel. The good news is you excavate the good writing from it one way or the other.
I alluded to asking people questions, particularly elderly relatives. Don’t put it off, do it now. There’s a very good reason you never see an elderly person buy green bananas,