As I was folding laundry today (does it never end?), I turned on the television to have something to watch. I turned on an episode of Doctor Who and I heard the Doctor say something that I loved. "We are all just stories in the end." That line says so much to me. There are so many things that can be taken from that line that can affect both life and writing. Most people tend to think of stories as fiction that takes us away from life. Looking through a bookstore that appears to be true. However, think of all of the stories that you tell about friends and family. Think of the stories that you tell to friends and family. What about the stories that they tell about you? This is an untapped resource of ideas and revelations for writing about. Obviously, you don't have to tell the full story as non-fiction, but instead use it as a basic idea or premise for something larger. Your source of ideas becomes infinite.
It is in life that I truly find the most wisdom in this saying. We are all just stories in the end. What is your story? My grandparents are gone. I tell many stories of them whenever I get the chance. My grandmother had an obsession with the Wendy's chain of restaurants. She once wrote a thank you letter to Dave Thomas for creating the 99 cent value menu. The story of her eating at the drive through usually leaves people in tears with laughter. My grandfather got run over by a parked car. I'm not kidding! He actually did! The story would be nowhere as meaningful if he hadn't told me about it himself in his matter-of-fact style. Though they have both been gone for over a decade, I know that they remain here whenever I tell one of their stories.
What is the story that you leave? Will it be a drama, tragedy, mystery, thriller, or comedy? Who will tell it? Everyone thinks of their legacy. As you grow older you often do things to try to secure your legacy. I'm less worried about that. Legacies are told by those that know of you, though they do not know you. Stories are told by those that have been there with you and seen you at your best and worst. They are shorter, more memorable, more personal, and more enduring. With each action you make, remember that you are creating your story. It may be told. It may wind up being written by someone with talent you have not yet realized. We can't spend all of our time second guessing ourselves or worrying about other's images of us, but we can still help shape our own stories. We are all just stories in the end.