An unexpected funeral, last week. I don’t mean to write about grief, here – that’s something far more personal than I ever plan to get on this online space. But I do mean to say a few words about stories.
I hope you tell stories. You don’t have write novels or flash fiction or be published or the person everyone flocks to around the campfire. You don’t have to be very good at putting words together. But I hope you tell stories. I hope you at least try.
You try by noticing things. You try by looking at the world around you and noticing the weather and the light and the feel of the wind. You notice the smells and the sounds of your fields, your streets, your house, your grandmother’s carpet. You watch the colors and how they change. You listen to the sky at night and the traffic in the morning. You take deep breaths. You take long walks.
But you have to notice the people, too. The people are the most important. You have to look at them. The way they make faces and the way their voices rise and fall and the clothes they like to wear and how their hair behaves. You listen to the way they laugh, the lessons they try to teach, the stories they themselves tell. You put on their coat if they’ll let you and inhale to try and capture the smell of them. You ask them questions. You look at pictures of the times you weren’t there. You imagine them, try to see life like they do.
And you try to remember everything, and then you tell stories. About your days. About who you talked to, what you saw, the things you experienced. You fill your stories with all the particulars of your world and your family and what is most dear and enchanting and true about all of it. You tell your stories and you keep telling your stories over and over, to anyone curious enough to care.
In the end, when we lose people, we have their old things, we have photographs or video, and we have stories. For some reason, the stories are often the most precious. They are what comforts. They give life again. They strengthen memory. They can’t replace that jagged absence, but they ease it, a little. Stories bring a person close.
Please tell stories. They are our lives.