Speaking personally, I always told stories as far back as I can remember. My parents often called it “lying”, and it wouldn’t be honest not to admit that my storytelling abilities were certainly called into use on numerous occasions in an attempt to get out of various childhood scrapes – regardless of whether the previous one worked or not. But I also did enjoy telling others – or sometimes just myself –grandiose tales of daring-do, chases and escapes, or simple fables. Most of them stayed in my head, but some of them actually were told aloud.
My mother used to tell us stories when we were little. There was Édouard and Richard, the little boys who lived in a small hamlet somewhere in Switzerland (wherever the heck that was, I didn’t know), or Eduardo and Ricardo, the Mexican children who had all kinds of adventures living in the capitol of that country as they did. Of course the stories were completely ruined (in my eyes) when needs dictated the inclusion of “and little Lynette” around the time I was nearing age three, but that was probably due to the fact that a new addition to our family was vying for mom’s attention. I do remember loving those stories told over our lunch or when we were ill, and I’m sure it has something to do with my current profession.
I also constantly had my nose in a book, even though to many of my (male) friends, it wasn’t the height of coolness.
For those of you in the Type M audience who are also ink-stained wretches like I, I’m sure you’re nodding your heads at this point about what I’ve related above. Been there, done that. Right?
Everyone enjoys being told stories whether they’re experienced orally, in print, or on a screen, large or small. However, there are only some or us called to make their living (or trying to!) in this nether world where one creates lives and happenings in your head. And for some of us, it’s almost unstoppable.
An example: I had a discussion with someone the other day that could easily have become rather heated if I hadn’t resisted some strong urges and just cut it off. As I walked away from this possible unpleasantness, a film started in my head about how things might well have gone. Dialogue was created, things happened and it was very real and vivid to me.
Now, my question to everyone is this: am I wrong to assume that only writers have this tendency to constantly make things up in their heads, or is this something that everyone does, but only we’re foolish enough to actually try to write these things down? When people come up to us, saying things like, “I’m in awe of your ability to do what you do,” are they actually meaning that they’re unable to make up novel-length stories, or is it more a matter of them not being able to imagine doing that much work?
Whether it was in my nature from birth, something in the way my brain was put together, or the fact my mother told me stories and encouraged me to read, I became a novelist. (Which was as much a surprise to me as to anyone else.) I realize now I simply have to make up stories. I seem to be wired that way and I can’t stop it. My brother heard the same stories as a child, but I can’t imagine him writing a novel. In fact I can’t imagine him reading a novel, but that’s something else all together.
Am I just different – or is it a matter of me simply thinking I’m different?
Share your stories, please, everyone! Straighten me out here. What are your experiences?
We have received a number of complaints that the sign-in process to post comments has been keeping readers from posting comments. Therefore, I have turned off the control for this. The reason it was originally turned on was because we were being swamped by spammers, often several times a day. If the spammers don’t return in droves, we will keep the commenting controls off.