Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just Give Me Stories

My paternal grandmother used to say that all the time. "Just give me stories." My aunt, 10 years old when I was born, first introduced me to music on television. Country Music Television, MTV, live concerts on Public Broadcasting. I felt really cool, like a cool teenager, when she watched these with me. 

I distinctly remember being 7 or 8 watching a music video with her while Gram was working on Thanksgiving pies and Gram saying, "I don't want to watch this, give me stories." We tried to convince her the videos had a story but she wasn't interested. Music was for singing, television and books were for stories.
(That's Gram singing with my grandfather.)

Gram didn't really care what the story was. She would watch soap operas just as willingly as watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with me. (I kind of idolized April.) As long as whatever was on her television was a story. A clear, beginning to end, story. A story she could get wrapped up in, believe in.

I have been thinking a lot about the kind of writer I want to be. Recently I have read quite a bit of experimental fiction, the entire Harry Potter series over the summer, and I just finished Stephen Crane's "As I Lay Dying." I also have been reading a lot of literary journals/magazines. As I have been working through all this reading from these distinctly different genres I have been thinking about the kind of writer I want to be.

I, just like my Gram, like stories. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn't matter. If it is clear, descriptive and I can get lost in a different time and place with characters I can love or hate I am happy. It is important to me that I write intelligently. It is important to me that I make some sort of impact on the world, even if it is just that one person one time sees something in a brighter light because of one of my stories. 

But it is mostly important to me that I create stories. 

I don't need to be a literary writer or a genre writer. I don't care if my pieces are worthy of awards or turned into made for TV movies. I care about stories.

Just give me stories.

Side note: my maternal grandmother was a librarian. In it any wonder I am addicted to the written word when women like those two were influencing me when I was young?

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