Chain the muse to the desk and get the job done
Here in Kelowna the Okanagan Institute hosts sessions at the Bohemian Café. They feature the talented people who call our valley home. One week it might be a panel talking about sustainable building design. Another week it could be about pilgrimage or food security or laughter or music.
Recently I had a chance to be one of three people exploring storytelling as a healing art. Russ Dionne showed up to videotape the session. The café’s white noise was a non-stop rumble, but the videos (Artists Celebrate the Creative Spirit through the Gift of Storytelling) have value for anyone interested in personal narrative. I am a firm believer that everyone on the planet has stories worth hearing. That’s the seed I was planting in my part of the program.
Parts of the talk I’ve written about on Story Route: Exquisite silence about the way the room goes still when we fall under the enchantment of a story. Digging in the treasure box of memories about the role of stories as we age.
Most of the talk was related to my current focus, which is on the narrative legacy that is the most valuable bequest we can leave behind. Every time I move (and I seem to do that a lot), I shed “stuff”. What I never leave behind are the years of letters, photographs, journals, and digital backups. They’re what I would grab in an emergency, what I would mourn if they were lost.
People are fond of saying, “I could write a book…”, as if writing were a snap, something they could dash off and will some day. My challenge to the people at the café, and to anyone who harbours that dream, is to chain the muse to the desk and get the job done. Today is a good day to start.
Some of my favorite companions on the personal-stories journey might inspire you too:
- Hannah Hinchman, whose A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal transformed my journal keeping from a litany of woe to a celebration of each day’s gifts
- Patti Digh, whose Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally is a visual delight, a reading treasure, and a source of inspiration
- Carolyn Heilbrun, whose Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty gave me the quote that inspired me to start Catching Courage http://catchingcourage.com : “Women, I believe, search for fellow beings who have faced similar struggles, conveyed them in ways a reader can transform into her own life, confirmed desires the reader had hardly acknowledged—desires that now seem possible. Women can catch courage from the women whose lives and writings they read, and women call the bearer of that courage friend.”
- Christina Baldwin, Storycatcher: Making Sense Of Our Lives through the Power and Practice Of Story is a volume I dip into repeatedly, always finding ideas that stir my thinking.
I hope you’re all gathering and sharing the stories that are uniquely yours. Only you can create the legacy of your time here on the planet.