The Storyteller

Tree buddha

Tree buddha (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Feeling the need to be inspired I pick up Julia Cameron’s ‘The Right to Write‘.

One of the exercises to help you lighten up and not take writing so seriously is:

Pretend you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting on its trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller sits also resting against the tree trunk. Take a sheet of paper and number from one to five. Tell the Storyteller five things you’d like to hear stories about. 

So I pick up a pen and start to write: I’m sitting under a large tree next to a Storyteller. “Have you a story to tell?” I ask.

She nods her head, smiles, closes her eyes….Once upon a time… 

I find myself butting in…”Isn’t that a cliché? I want a story, not a fairytale!”

The Storyteller shrugs her shoulders.

“I want a story about finding your true love. Your true mission. Your true North. Adventure. Fighting goodness…evil.”

But young one, says the old and now cranky Storyteller. Your stories have been told before and many started with ‘Once upon a time…’ 

And then I, the ‘young one’, ponders on this thought for a minute. And I respond: “Well then what’s the point?”

And she says: We all fight the battle between our inner good, our inner bad, arguing with oneself to find the true meaning of life and the true meaning of your own life. 

I sigh. Sometimes it’s just too hard. I’m beyond thinking. I’ve fought for so many years, the hair around my temples are greying from too much worry and pondering.

What is the point of writing? There are so many words in the world already. When I walked into a book store last weekend and read the back of some of the paperbacks I was in awe of the stories, the fanciful ideas I’d never thought of, their divergent connections, the creativity and the craft.

And I thought, who am I? What new stories do I have to offer? What can I bring to the table? Why should I write?

Then I read a comment from Julia Cameron’s book, she says you need remember to write for the love of it and not for the end product. Sometimes I need to remind myself of this when I’m lost and unsure of where to head next. 

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of. ”

― Joss Whedon

The Storyteller laughs. Shall I begin…? 

I snuggle back into the tree (well as much as you can snuggle against a stiff wooden trunk) and I close my eyes and listen…

Once upon a time, begins the enchanted Storyteller…and I’m transported…

Are there times when you are lost about why you are so determined to write?

If so, how do you get past this block? 

Need a writing prompt? Go to the space in your head where the Storyteller resides and have a chat. Tell her/him those stories in your head…



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