Where do stories come from?

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for checking in. Its great to have you.

I spent a long time today thinking about where stories come from. A writer I have loved all my life brought this to mind. He wrote prolifically all his life but in later years, due probably to a combination of ill health and a lack of financial necessity, he did nothing but write. Before that, he was a journalist, a teacher, and also did a few other jobs I believe. The point I want to make is that as he made his life smaller, interacted less on a daily basis with fellow human beings, so too did his stories. Or if not smaller, then less relevant, less real. It was as if he had lost touch with the world and his stories suffered, in my humble opinion, because of it.

I think, for me anyway, stories are all around us. We are interested in each other, that what’s wonderful about us and we are always looking for points of comparison, ways we can identify with each other.

When teaching poetry to Irish teenage boys, I explain that for me at least, literature, in all its forms is the conversation of mankind. I think I heard that phrase somewhere, I didn’t make it up, but its so true. Through stories we can talk to each other, and we can see that we are not alone. If your heart is broken it hurts, no matter if you’re 80 or 18, black or white, rich or poor, live in 2016 or 1916, in Durban or Dublin. Stories connect us and make us feel less of a weirdo, somewhere, someone felt just as you do. And when we can find that connection in a story, then that’s amazing. There are loads of books in the world but every so often a book comes your way that has a character that you need to meet at that exact time in your life, and when that happens, its just magic.

I think it comes from somewhere beyond the writer, for me anyway, it’s true. These people I write about just appear, stay for a while and then move on. Once I write them, they are no longer mine, they then belong to the reader. And if the reader connects with them, them that makes my day.

Until the next time,

Jean x

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