Wonderful things stories, they’re like pixies secreting themselves in common places, a snatch of conversation, the dent of a car, or a discarded glove. They love lofty hideouts too, song, works of art, works of architecture, the ruins of a city, the course of a river, or the silhouette of a mountain. Geologists can teach their students how to pull stories of the earth directly from rocks.
Stories are most fun when they are shared. It doesn’t really matter how.
The pathway to sharing needn’t be orthodox. Mine started with a degree in History, took an extended detour through amateur rugby, and an even more extended detour through a career in technology before leading me, my dodgy knees, backache and capricious achilles tendon, to my rocking chair and keyboard. It was a preparation… of sorts.
The biggest challenge, personally, has been learning how to deal with just how long it takes to embed the elements of good story sharing. It doesn’t help being a slow learner. The trick that’s worked best so far is to be patient and make the learning process fun. Enjoy creating the first draft where the normal outcome, after starting from nothing, is little better than nothing. Delight in revision. There will be plenty. Suffer criticism with humility and humour. Okay, that’s not necessarily going to be fun all the time but there’ll be plenty of it and a good strategy is necessary. Absorb what’s useful and discard the rest.
It’s also good to take a break from time to time. My refuges are music, I’ve become a seriously amateur blues guitarist over the years, and cycling, the one thing my knees, back and ankle don’t seem to mind too much. Most of all I like sharing stories.