Monday, October 3, 2016

Why I Write

Do you want to know why I write?

Because nobody listens any more. People used to tell stories from the front porch swing on a Saturday night after chores were done. I know because I listened to them, family stories. Not all of them were completely true. Great great grandpa Pete was never in the Civil War, but that rifle came from someone in our family who was. And he might have been ready to get married again and great aunt Kate broke it up, but maybe she had cause after all the years watching him be abusive to his wife, her mother. Who wants to see a repeat of that kind of misery? That wasn't part of the G-rated stories that were told at grandma's house when I was a kid. Grandma knew how to tell a story, but she left out the gory bits. I'm kind of grateful for that. My other grandma told stories in her kitchen, but she never told the most important ones like how her parents, her sister, and her fiance died all in the same year, so I could never figure out why she'd start crying when she told me at the end of a story, how much she loved me. I used to live for these stories, but I knew when there were holes in them. There were always holes.

Now, it's different though. I have stories to tell. I'm always trying to tell some story or another, sad ones, redeeming ones, funny ones. But these days, people interrupt and you can't get two lines into the preamble of a good story before the conversation has run downstream into the next beginning of a story and someone else is carrying it away.

We  run so swiftly in this current of time that people don't really listen to each other any more. Not really. They're too busy to slow it down and listen. It drives me crazy. I have one friend who asks a question and never lets me get to the end of a sentence before she interrupts me.Most other people only get two or three lines down the road. You have to be the queen of one liners to tell a good story in this environment.

Mike listens to me. He does. This morning, I told him a story about when I was fourteen and he listened all the way through to the end. It was a doozy, the first time I was ever felt up by a boy. Too bad I can't tell you too. It was a good story too, with irony, multiple levels of irony, and a punch line that couldn't be beat.

Now, you want to hear about this story, don't you. Who doesn't want to hear the story of the first time a girl gets felt up?

Am I going to go down this road? It isn't a nice story. Oh no, it is not. There are some people who would go down if I told this story, people who are still alive, people who would be so confused because their denial is so deep. No, honey, I can't tell you this story.

I can just tell you that between the years of thirteen and twenty six, I'd have trouble telling you the truth about myself. I hate thinking about it. I was a lost child. I suffered. I dated rude people and had lousy friends. Oh thankfully, I had a few lovely friends, but too many of them were in it for the control one person can have over another. It took me years and a lot of good luck to form the relationships I have now. I am an incredibly lucky woman.

So, the question is whether I'm going to begin to tell you about those years.

I could write it as fiction and Oprah might be all over it. There's abuse. There's abandonment and loss. There is alcohol, lots of alcohol. There are a few bright friendships, but mostly controlling and demeaning ones. And then there is some amazing kind of luck and the main character escapes and get better at choosing the people around her. And in the end, there is love, true love. And some time in a psychologist's couch.

Oh, I can hear you begging for a story like that. I can.

But how can I tell a story like this, one that would be so incredibly incriminating?

You know, I can't watch Game of Thrones. I just can't. The reason I can't watch it is because it makes me squirm with all the truth and evil in it. I just might start telling you some true fiction.

Fancy that?

Thank you for listening, jules

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