What is “Ideas/Imagery/Story” for?
Ideas were my first love.
I remember when my mind caught aflame with particular ideas shared towards me from my dad—“Have you ever tried to imagine infinity? Where does space end? Or what if there is something else, beyond space?” I turned ideas like these over and over in the silence of my heart—exulting in them—stilled with a sense of awe and wonder.
But we all get beaten down and broken-hearted by the disappointments of life, and mine was this: Others didn’t seem to share my love of ideas.
Time passed, and I found a new love too: imagery.
Words like these tear at my heart:
“Hear that lonesome whippoorwill.
He sounds too blue to fly.
The midnight train is whining low.
I'm so lonesome I could cry…”
"Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves began to die?
That means he's lost the will to live.
I'm so lonesome I could cry.
The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky.
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry.”
-Hank Williams, Sr.
And I found I, too, could use words for imagery that taps against the portals to others’ hearts. Like a child lifting up an object of great beauty, I could say, “Do you see it too?”
Well, I have not lost the wish to say, “Do you see it too?” nor have I lost either of those two loves. But I keep moving… changing my tactics at times… and I’ve found a certain power in dialogues, in narrative, in choices of wording catered to my hearers—story.
“Stories are thick with meanings. You can fall in love with a story for what you think it says, but you can't know for certain where it will lead your listeners. If you're telling a tale to teach children to be generous, they may fix instead on the part where your hero hides in an olive jar, then spend the whole next day fighting about who gets to try it first.
People take what they need from the stories they hear. The tale is often wiser than the teller.”
-Susan Fletcher, “Shadow Spinner”
Not only do I not know where these stories will lead my listeners: I scarce know where the telling of them will lead me! No matter. I have seen enough to throw myself into the adventure with irrepressible hope! “The Road goes ever on and on…”
PC: Tobias Stonjeck (@tobistj) on Unsplash.
May you too be caught up in joy, my reader and fellow-adventurer.
Joy to you,