There's a Way You Write the Story...

The more I work with my own stories, the slower it seems I go.  The first expedition is, What is the story?, and the second is, What does it mean?  I tell it again, and again, to one friend after another.  And then I listen to every word they say when I'm finished. 

The reason this story's so hard to tell is that you're still living it.

This is an important story for you--one of your life stories.  It will look very different a few years from now.

It's okay to tell it with your current understanding, even though it won't be your last, and to create it anew with each new listener, with every telling.

We churn over a single story for days, or weeks, coming back to it later to let it teach us something new.  Then I realize why this work is slow and consuming:  there's a way you write the story, and there's a way the story writes you.  The way it frames your past and informs your present, always changing and growing along with you as if it is a living thing.  And, indeed it is:  a story is a companion, not a history book gathering dust. 

There's a way in which a story can change everything, casting a new light on all we see.  Just as it shows us how far we've come, it reveals a distance still to be traveled, or lessons that keep cycling back, beckoning our mastery.  After taking a turn in the chair, I lay down on the table and surrender to its hands.  And sometimes I don't get up again for a very long time.