Stories need to be shared. I came to storytelling late in life. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve always been a storyteller. Not in a bad way, I’m not a particularly good liar, but I liked to make up stories to my children at bedtime rather than read to them. I was always popular at a sleepover, or family vacation where friends visited, assembling the children around me before bedtime to spin a yarn. Once, vacationing at a beach house, I gathered the collective gaggle of kids and spun the first installment of a story about an old king. The following afternoon I sat on the beach and one of the children asked me how the king would get himself out of his terrible predicament. I told him he’d just have to wait and see, but asked what he thought the king might do. He gave me his rendering and, of course, I made sure that was exactly what the king did. As I reiterated his idea that night, he jumped up and down with unbridled enthusiasm, as only a four-year-old could do, and yelled, “I knew it! I knew it!” The joy he displayed might have actually swollen my heart to at least twice its size.
I once had a serious argument with a colleague, a literature teacher, who tried to convince me that writers write simply for the intrinsic joy of writing and not with the intention, or need, to share their writing. I thought that absurd and after extended discussions she eventually conceded. Why write if nobody ever reads what you’ve written?
And so share it shall be. I’ll share my stories, my trials and tribulations, tips I’ve learned that would have saved me days of editing and rewriting, and the humiliation endured at the hands of agents and editors, only to be vindicated and validated by others in the same day. It’s rough out there, but if you truly love to write and want to share your stories then it’s worth every tantrum and tear you suffer.
So, buck up and join me along this road filled with mine fields set by the publishing world. We can do it with the support of our fellow writers. And sometimes, I think, that … in and of itself … is enough joy to sustain me.
Well, maybe not…a book contract didn’t hurt…