Month: February 2024

Role of the Story Teller

One of the happiest times of my week is Saturday morning, when my husband and I listen to a story on CD. Often that story is told by Stuart McLean. I’ve written about Stuart before on this blog. Follow the link if you want to re-read. He died seven years ago this month, and yet, his stories still bring me to tears and make me laugh out loud. What a legacy. 

Listening to his tales makes me think about the role of the story teller. As writers I’m sure we’d love to think our tales will touch people years after we’ve gone.  If so, what kind of legacy do we want to leave?

If I were a humourist, I’d want to “leave ’em laughing,” as Stuart has done. If I were a crusader, I might like to highlight the plight of the poor, as Charles Dickens did. If I were a classicist, I might hope to retell Greek tales in modern language, like the opera composer Niccolò Zingarelli. or William Walton. 

But I am none of those. I am a spinner of simple tales, told to a small audience, who want to read about love and happily ever after and maybe learn about a short period of history in Canada. What legacy can I leave?

I think Stuart McLean teaches me that tales do not have to be told on a grand scale, but they do have to be told with humanity. The characters we create must be relatable. No one is all good and no one is all bad. The “hero” of McLean’s stories, Dave, is about as awkward, and inept, and well-intentioned as a man can be. I don’t think any of the listeners aspire to mimic Dave’s misadventures. I think we do covet his goodness. Dave’s schemes inevitably go awry, yet, in the end, his kindness, his basic humanity, and his affection for both friend and foe shine through. A character worth emulating. A legacy worth leaving.

Lottie, in The Man for Her, is stubborn and headstrong. She rejects Sean’s love because he won’t bend to her will. Someone who has been disappointed in love could identify with Lottie. My hope, as an author and a caring human, is that, in the end, my story will touch that disappointed lover, show her another way, help her give love another chance.

The Christmas short stories I share with my newsletter subscribers are intended to lift hearts, to remind us of what Christmas is about. When we look for light in the darkest days of winter,  I want to bring hope, peace, joy and love to my readers.

The story I’m writing now is about an older heroine, who has loved and lost. Perhaps it will help someone learning one of life’s hardest lessons. Grief is universal. None of us can escape death. Our culture tries to deny death, or hide it away, but every human heart will suffer that great loss. If I can tell a story that helps one soul in grief, I have done a good thing.

My legacy will not show up in the history books, but I hope it will touch at least one person. I hope the tales I tell will make someone’s world a better place.

What about you, dear reader/writer? Do you wonder about your own legacy? What is your goal?

Visits: 5

Happy New Year

Yes, I know it is February, but I got sick shortly after New Year’s Eve and have spent the first month of 2024 with the covers over my head and cough drops at the ready. Not COVID 19. Rather, I got the cold-that-never-ends! For weeks I’d go to bed at night thinking I would be better in the morning, only to wake up worse off than the day before.  Apparently, many others have experienced this virus so I can’t even claim to be medically unique.

Some authors would have used time like this to power through their manscript. Sadly, my brain was functioning only at a basic level, i.e. eat, sleep, sneeze. Even my reading was only accomplished in short bursts. I couldn’t even get through my Christmas haul of new books.

In one of those short bursts, I got confirmation of something I have long suspected to be true for myself. I read better on paper. On screen, I tend to skim. For that reason, I pay the big bucks to order my favourite authors in paperback as opposed to e-books. 

I learned a few new words.

  • Trichobezoar is another word for “hairball.” So the next time my cat embarrasses me by barfing in front of company, I can just use the big word and feel better. Kind of like Mary Poppins’ Supercalifragalisticexpialidotious.  I half-watched the movie from my sickbed and marvelled at what a spirit lifter it is.
  • The collective noun for hummingbirds is charm. What a beautiful sentiment. Outside my window is a charm of hummingbirds. In reality, hummingbirds are fierce little beasts who won’t share the feeder. They leave the flowers to fight off invaders. In other words, they’d rather starve than share. Not so charming!
  • Clutter is one of the words used to describe a bunch of cats. If you’ve ever had a couple of cats twisting about your ankles you’ll appreciate the sentiment. A  clutter of cats is digging up my garden.

I also learned that readers enjoy seeing pet pictures on blogs. With that in mind, here are a couple from my “clutter.” 

Now, my weary brain has to rest. I am recovering, but the journey is slow. I hope all my readers are enjoying robust health and gobbling up thier favourite books, whether on screen or on paper.

 

 

Visits: 31

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