Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Stories Matter

I picked up a copy of Telling True Stories this afternoon. It's a nonfiction writers' guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. So far, it's fabulous. Inspiring. Illuminating.

I skipped around in it a little before buying the book and just now finished the first essay. Talking about why stories matter, Jacqui Banaszynski concludes with these words:

Stories are our prayers. Write and edit them with due reverence, even when the stories themselves are irreverent.

Stories are parables. Write and edit and tell yours with meaning, so each tale stands in for a larger message, each story a guidepost on our collective journey.

Stories are history. Write and edit and tell yours with accuracy and understanding and context and with unwavering devotion to the truth.

Stories are music. Write and edit and tell yours with pace and rhythm and flow. Throw in the dips and twirls that make them exciting, but stay true to the core beat. Readers hear stories with their inner ear.

Stories are our soul. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matters that you do it as if that's all there is.

If we're honest with ourselves, every one of us occasionally wonders why we do this, why we keep moving our fingers across the keys, turning our selves inside out to tell stories about things that turned our lives upside down.

Banaszynski's answer is simple and true: our stories matter. They are history, they are music, they are the soul of the world.

Write on, my friends.


mamatulip said...

Yes! Write on. :)

Suzy said...

Amen, and thanks for sharing those words of wisdom.


Go Mama said...

This great. Thanks for posting these.

Carrie Wilson Link said...



kario said...

Sounds like something I need to get my hands on. Any reminders of how to do this thing I do with honesty and dignity are welcome. Thanks for the heads up!

Jess said...

Wow, sounds great. Where can I get a copy of that? I'll have to come look at yours... :)