Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Story

I've been throwing around the idea of doing a blog for quite some time now. Not long ago I was able to narrow down exactly what I wanted the blog to be about: Story. Why story? Because story encompasses the whole of human experience. Our history is communicated through story. The greatness of love and the ugliness of evil is shown to us through story. Stories inspire us. They cause us to cheer for one person and pray for the demise of another. Story is the single most powerful medium for understanding something we have not or cannot experience first hand. Sometimes story even makes clearer or gives voice to those things we have experienced for ourselves.

I stumbled upon the realization a while back that as opposed to being an actor or a musician or a painter or photographer, we, as artists, are storytellers. This is a wonderful and terrifying reality. We are charged with interpreting the human experience and then birthing that interpretation for people to do with it what they will. That is a sobering and intimidating privilege. That privilege and that responsibility are what have inspired me to write this blog.

I realize that by it's very nature a blog like this has endless opportunities for pretense, and in truth I was going to fill my first post with innumerable observations about storytelling from a movie I'd recently seen. (Which would have no doubt been pretentious) But I had an experience today that helped me keep things in perspective. Today I attended my cousin's funeral.

Story was everywhere. There were pictures of him at the front of the room and some of his favorite songs played in between homilies. There were family members who stood up, eyes full with tears, to talk about what a generous man he'd been, and there was laughter at the things he'd done that reminded us so much of who he was. On each and every face in that room a story was worn; A remembrance of some time when he and they had interacted and the impression that encounter left on them. It won't be long before I forget what I wore today and already I can't tell you what music played during the service. But the memories, and the emotions those memories brought to the surface, I will not forget. Today we told Danny's story.

Hopefully, that's what a story will do. It moves you toward something. It forces you to come face to face with something. It doesn't leave you the same.

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