In college I called it my "friend alarm". It was this internal radar system that would signal when I met someone who was somehow kindred to me. Like Katie, the girl at the video store who always commented on my selection of foreign films.
But with story, the internal signal feels more like a sonar system, pinging back softly when it's encountered something that's meant to be woven into the tale.
It can happen in unexpected moments, when I am sitting in front of a fireplace with dear ones and there is so much love and a contentment draped over us and I feel it: This is the story.
Or it happens months before I even have a camera to catch it, across the cafe table from a friend. Out of all our conversation, my mind sticks to one place and lingers there for weeks.
This is the story.
It's difficult to explain, and I imagine it's not easy to teach because for me it's an intuitive experience, rather than an intellectual one.
I collect them all--the images and sounds--like squares of fabric and then I sit back and look for how they fit together, what pattern and design will hold them all.
And then, like a quilt-maker whose materials are ideas and narratives and possibilities, I stitch them all together.