a vestige of thought...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stories

I am realizing more and more the power of story. You'd think I would get it by now. I'm a communications major, for goodness sake. I took a whole class on the power and influence of Hollywood storytelling. And I go to Asbury, where the power of storytelling is emphasized--among other ways--by the annual Highbridge Film Festival. But I guess some things don't really get crammed into my brain until I see them played out in real (or fictional) life.

I have seen the power of stories recently in three places:

1) At Church--I had a discussion recently about Jon Weece, the pastor of Southland Christian Church. My friend and I were pondering what makes his preaching so captivating. And suddenly it was obvious: he tells stories. He tells stories and sprinkles them with scripture. The stories are not always deep (though they can be), but they are always memorable. I guess that's why Jesus told stories. (At this point the communications major in me says, 'Duh'.)

2) In Books--Again, duh, right? But there are definitely books that don't tell stories. I'm currently reading two books. One is a teen novel by Melody Carlson (which I started just now and will probably finish before dinner) and the other is Les Miserables (which I started three years ago and hope to finish one day before I die). Very different, for sure, but both take examples of pain that we most often hear about in statistical form and put them in story form. We as readers remember the story, which will hopefully impact us the next time we meet a statistic.

3) On Blogs--I'm sort of a closet adoption blog junkie. It's no secret that I hope to adopt one day, and I enjoy reading about the process and other people's experiences. I have read a few families' adoption journeys from beginning to end. Some blogs I only read an entry or two from. The difference? Some write the story of their family; others write the technical process of adoption. This is a generalizable principle. Remember Marley and Me? Okay, it wasn't a blog, but the author had the most success in his column when he was writing stories about his dog, and not when giving his opinion on zoning laws (or whatever).

Now, I realize that my posting in this way is somewhat ironic. I am filling my blog with non-story. It's not that non-story is always bad, just that often story is better. So to close, I leave you with a story:

Christy finishes her junior year of college, travels home, and spends the subsequent week in a large recliner in her living room reading lots and lots of books. She realizes that stories are cool and that she likes to write them as well as read them. So she sits down at her computer to write one. However, Google Reader quickly distracts her and she spends an hour or so reading blog posts and writing one of her own. Meanwhile, Christy realizes that the table where she is sitting in the midst of her mad typing frenzy is completely covered in delicious-looking frosted cupcakes. The smell of chocolate frosting wafts over here as she types. Her stomach growls. She realizes that it is 1:45 and she has not eaten lunch yet. She also realizes that these cupcakes are not for her, and she cannot eat any because there are only 48 (and not the requested 50) to begin with. So she decides to finish typing and explore the part of the kitchen that contains yummy foods that are not off limits.

The end.

Alright, it's not going to win me any prizes. Maybe next time.
posted by Christy at 1:18 PM

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