The world is a stage and every person is an actor…
But is everyone a playwright? Is everyone a writer?
Everyone has a story, but not everyone is a storyteller.
Ask any published author and they will tell you of at least one wannabe writer talking to them about a book they need to write –a surefire best seller. It is usually a story of their own dysfunctional family and they are certain someone will make a movie out of it.
The simple truth is this: All families are dysfunctional. Nothing new there. Life isn’t fair. Nothing new there.
I sat next to a very interesting woman at a church luncheon this past week. I only met her one other time so it was good to get to know her better. She started the conversation with, “You’re a writer, right? I have a story that needs to be told.”
Bells went off in my head. Here’s another one. I smiled and listened as she began talking about her past. I must admit she has led an interesting life and against great odds.
Hers isn’t a story of a dysfunctional family. It’s the story of a dysfunctional society… a story of how we treat people who are different from us. She is one smart cookie. But what really grabbed me was when she turned, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I have a story, but I’m not a writer. I would need someone like you to make sense of it all so others could appreciate it.”
Everyone has a story, but not everyone is a storyteller… or a publishable writer. She knew enough to know that.
The question then begs, what should a person do with their life story, shy of turning it over to someone else to write?
I suggest we should all preserve our stories in written form. Keep a journal, write descriptions of family members, write the stories handed down to you from parents and grandparents. Preserve your history.
Three benefits of writing your own story:
First, the more you write, the better writer you become. It’s true. The more you write, the better you write. Take a few minutes each morning or evening to preserve a personal or family story. You don’t have to revise it, edit it, or make it beautiful. You simply need to write it down. Revisions can come later if you like.
Second, writing your story will give you insights you never imagined. I hesitate to call writing therapy because I am not particularly qualified to suggest that, but for me, writing is indeed therapeutic. Putting on paper what I see or perceive, what I feel and experience, helps me sort out what really took place and keep everything in perspective.
Third, and this is where the true writer in you comes out, writing your story down with all the intricate, quirky people you call family, helps you develop true-to-life characters for your books.
Is your life story a best seller? Possibly… but not likely. However, it is important. It’s important to you and to generations to come. It may be fodder for a fictional story or it may serve only to help you gain perspective. Writing your story down is still of value…even if no one ever makes a movie of it. It’s your life and that means it is worth preserving.