Like the glacier stream that stings and refreshes with it’s icy facade, storytelling wounds and then invigorates your being. Stories play on the most dark, decrepit and revolting of our desires and ideas while simultaneously stitching those up with the band-aid of morals, hopes and dreams. If you rip it off quickly, it will sting…for only a moment. In that moment, you will catch a meager glimpse of your inner being. If you peel slowly, though, through agonizing minutes and hours, to watch the drooping skin, puss and mushiness be relinquished, you are forced to face what is underneath
What I have noticed as a writer is that I am often scared to face that grotesque wound. When I write, even when I try to write from a different perspective, it is still my same perspective but superimposed upon that other perspective. It is this that scares me. I’m scared to face my secrets of judgement, denial, hatred and darkest thoughts. On the flip side, I’m similarly anxious to face that which enlightens, brings incredible joy and ecstasy. It is the acknowledgement of these fears, these anxieties that makes for excellent storytelling. The protagonist facing her fear of loneliness is a reflection of the writer/reader of facing his/her own fears of loneliness. Within that narrator’s acknowledgement, we can identify deeply with characters. They may be fictional, but they embody much of us as human beings. A self-reflecting writer/reader will gain more healing and more wisdom than one who sees it only as a means to an end of entertainment.
Thus, it must be with care that writers and readers alike apply and remove that bandage and view their deepest, goriest of wounds, those that they would hide underneath to dispel a haunting image. Within the confines of storytelling we are forced to face the worst of all foes: the self. Perhaps this is why many do not engage in reading. We must seek to love and caress those words, those wounds, for their magic is no illusion.
Storytelling brings us closer to those around us, teaches us empathy, compromise, courage, self-reflection, anger, malice, and teaches us love. It can do majestic things to change the world. And it can crumble the world into the slums of oblivion. They are the subtle slash under the skin of ignorant rulers who undervalued a revolution’s message. Words are the soothing song from a mother when her child’s heart has been crushed to dust. They are the agents of hatred used with cunning duplicity to bring about greed and selfishness. Words are the soothing waterfall of a lover’s written kiss. They are all this and more. Words are self-inflicitng and self-healing mirrors. They are powerful. Words are…
Are you willing to brave the journey and reveal your character? Feel free to comment and discuss!
What powers/thoughts/reflections has storytelling had or given to you as a reader/writer? Were you unnerved by those revelations? Did you envision storytelling in a different light?