Tuesday, August 7, 2012

collections, and stories, and you...

a few of Rebekah’s blue bottles
I’m not 100% sure where I’m going with this, but this photograph of Rebekah’s freshly cleaned blue bottles (some of them) is too cool to pass up.
I guess everyone has some kind of collection. Sometimes they’re “un-collections.” You know, those items that people THINK you collect, and then they start to multiply even though, no, you don’t actually want 138 ball-point pens from tacky souvenir shops crammed in your top desk drawer.
blue mason jar
CATCH-AND-RELEASE: Rebekah, however, really does collect old blue bottles, jars and such. But she doesn’t want random people giving her random blue bottles, she likes to hunt them down and discover them herself. And when she finds them, what she likes best are the really old ones, with ripples and air bubbles in the glass, and she enjoys scouring through obscure, hot, dusty, hard-to-find, un-airconditioned antique stores to find them.
Often she won’t even take the bottles home; it’s more of a “catch and release” program, and it’s the thrill of the hunt that keeps her looking.
Monet – “Parliament at Sunset”
If I had a collection it would be guitars. But the ones that catch my eye are always several thousands of dollars so, instead, I’ll settle for visiting them in the store or the museum.
It’s the same thing with art. I’ve always thought a small collection of Impressionist works would look nice in the house. A couple of Monets, one or two works by Vincent van Gogh, a Cézanne and – on the biggest wall – something by Turner to anchor the collection.
“Folkestone Seascape” (my hometown) by Turner
STORIES: But what I do collect is stories. I didn’t realize this until someone asked me, “Where do you find all those stories you make up?” My answer was, “I don’t need to make stuff up! The truth is always far more interesting.”
And the truth really is more interesting. I’ve been deliberately listening to people – via both formal interviews and more casual conversations – for a decade now. I’ve been curious all my life, but this free-lance writing career has helped me to be more intentionally aware.
And I’m constantly amazed at how many people say they’ve never before had anyone express interest in their story.
Most of the time, we don’t even know what kind of a story we’re living until someone asks us to share it.
SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR STORY: So, what’s your story? Is it going anywhere? Is there a plot? Or is your story just wandering aimlessly from day-to-day?
What are some of the markers that have moved your story along? What would some of the chapter headings be if you were writing it down?
What’s the defining “crisis” (in a literary sense) that might help you understand what’s powering any forward movement (if any) in your story?
Where would you like to see your story go from here?
What’s your story?
Like I said, everyone has a story, and it’s important, compelling and interesting because it is yours. I’d like to encourage each one of us to listen to one another, and to share our own story, and then to provide support and encouragement for those who realize that it is past time time to live into a better story.
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. (John 1:16)
Food for thought – always – DEREK

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