"Great stories happen to those who can tell them" . . . . . . . . Ira Glass

I am somewhat of a liar.  A natural born one, in fact, although where nature leaves off and nurture picks up is always a hard line to pinpoint.

A good story has always been valued in my family culture, and consequently we have some great storytellers around our dinner table -- complete with voices and sound effects.

I've raised three of them myself, actually.  And so another generation of liars is born.

Every man is bound to leave a story 
better than he found it.

-- Mary Augusta Ward

But storytelling is lying I am willing to overlook, because I believe stories are one of our most important resources.  Everything we know about the human condition we learn from them -- some of us can learn quite effectively by listening, others have to live the story first-hand, but  the resonance we find in the stories of others somehow makes us feel less alone in our human state.  Like if we can understand it, maybe we can survive it. Stories are hope.

And stories are inseparable from art of any medium.  If there is no story, there is no reason to tell it and therefore no reason to create.  And CERTAINLY no reason to bother looking at it later.

I'm already at day 10 of my little daily drawing adventure, and I can see that it is going to throw off a lot of energy into my other work, which excites me.  What I was unprepared for was the fact that I seem completely unable to make even a simple drawing without wanting it to tell a story.  A reason for being.  And although I never intended to include words with the pictures, I find that those moved in and made themselves immediately at home as well.

Hmmm.  I should have expected it, I guess.  It's what I do. And I believe in it with as much fervor as I believe in breathing. I don't really know how to even open my mouth without some type of embellishment popping out, as if every single word needed enrichment of some kind to earn its keep.

I'm sure it's a pretty annoying trait actually, 
because sometimes a grocery list should just be about groceries.

But please! Tell me your stories, and I'll tell you mine, and together we can survive our crazy world, and hopefully have a lot more fun doing it.  And realize we're not alone. Not a thing in the universe either one of us has done, thought of, or experienced that someone else couldn't tell us a story about.

Now . . . I hope you write yourself 
a good chapter this weekend. 
( And I'll want to hear about it later, of course.)



Leenie said...

I know what you mean about the almost unconscious desire to embellish. A kid can get in big trouble adding details to make the story better. I finally realized people don't like to be lied to unless you warn them first. Wish I could be at your table to hear the tales. Maybe someday.

I married into a family of left brainers. All techy and boring (unless we're talking fishing) although it pays the bills. Fortunately, our offspring are a fine mix of left and right so gatherings are a blast. Much better than cactus in a teacup.

Allie said...

We simply must be related, lol. I love your line about stories being inseparable from art - that's exactly how I feel about quilts, and why I prefer quilts with pictures [more than the traditional designs]. The story draws me in every time!

luanne said...

Your comments page has suddenly shrunk! (Or maybe my computer is misbehaving?)

I didn't grow up in a storytelling family-- too much mealtime chatter was frowned upon, especially if Dad was there -- but as an adult my brother somehow got the storytelling gift anyway. His advice is to choose interesting over true ("if it's not working, change it!") and that approach works -- we can listen to his stories for hours.

Your captions put that special Susan-spin on your drawings that makes them even more enjoyable to me than they are solo. And I guess it's because they are complete little stories.

Maybe that's why I can't seem to let a photo just speak for itself either, come to think of it.

susan m hinckley said...

Yes, LuAnne -- it shrunk. I know that sometimes I like to reference things when I'm making comments on blogs but I can't exactly remember them, so I always appreciate it when I can see the blog at the same time I'm writing. I'd be interested to know what others think of the full page vs. pop out comment form? Always a little hard for Susan to make a change of ANY KIND....

I agree -- interesting trumps true every time!

Jeannine said...

I love this post. It reminded me of my dad who is also an artist and an amazing storyteller. I think I'll send it to him.

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