Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stories Worth Telling

Not all sandals come with their own postcard!*
Just one more reason to love my Tevas!

"Life. It's a funny thing.
You know, the moments we live for are so short. . . .
But if you think about it, it's in these rare moments
that you feel, that you really feel alive.
That is where great stories are born,
and it's these stories that make us tick.
So, what story will you tell? . . .

Your story? It could be anything.
It's out there waiting to be lived,
and there isn't a different you who can live it.
The stories that you choose to live, that is your decision.
That is what defines you.
So are you happy with your story? You should be."

~ Live Better Stories ~ by Teva ~


Anne Lamott, in her recent (August 12) tribute to Robin Williams, urges us to "Live stories worth telling!"

She quotes from Frederick Buechner --
"It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life's story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others' lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling "
These lines from Lamott and Buechner brought to mind something that I read earlier this summer in Terry Galloway's memoir Mean Little deaf Queer. Like Buechner, performance artist Galloway puts her finger on what it is that validates our existence: "the presence of something still unspoken" (emphasis added).

from Part III: Emerging: "Why Should I Matter"

"As a child who suffered mightily from existential doubt, and took enormous pleasure in it, by the way, I grew up thinking that an overwhelming loss of faith in one's existence was an everyday
occurrence. . . .

"If I don't matter, neither does that poor southern man. Nor does his son who was my father. Neither does the young Texan named Edna who died of typhoid nor the lush little beauty Edna for whom she was named. Nor does the fragile baby Robert who died in his crib or the two identical Eves who loved and held him. Nor do those two beautiful boys, both named Donald, both so thin when they died the needles went right through them.

"If they don't matter then neither does anyone else whose name I've evoked in this small book I've written, including Shakespeare, Mother Teresa, June Allyson, and FDR. And while I may have trouble believing in the meaningfulness of my own life, I have a little less trouble believing in the meaningfulness of theirs. In every sentence, every word of stories told I feel the presence of something still unspoken or as yet unheard, and I feel it as an emptiness akin to hope. There are so many more of us out here who don't know how to tell our own stories or to make our own small triumphs compelling or simply convince others that we have souls as complex (or perhaps more so) as any movie star, politico, or prince of the realm. If we don't or won't or simply can't tell our own stories, does that mean we matter less or not at all?"
(201, 219 - 220, emphasis added)

from the Epilogue

"That morning, the little bit more I'd been given to hear no longer felt like delayed and bitter restitution, but like the gift and promise that it was. Lying abed surrounded by that cozy domesticity of sound -- the shower, the cat, the book falling off the bed onto the floor, my own deep, grunting sigh -- it seemed churlish not to admit that mine was a happy life, when I could stand it." (228)


~ Funny Story ~ From Donna ~

See also:
Goodbye Sandal Weather & Everyone Loves Stories

*Len writes: Reading your post without my glasses, I read "Not all scandals come with their own postcard!" Hmmmm. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Terry Galloway writes: "Thank you for your thoughtful attention to those passages in my memoir. The words are much on my mind as I contemplate the deaths seven years ago of my sweet dad and the death three years ago of my wonderful mother. Thank you, Kitti."