Tagtelling stories

Telling stories

A few days ago I saw a double rainbow. I was by myself, driving home, and there had been thunderstorms, so the sky was a jumbled-up sea of grays, with the light breaking through here and there.

My first thought in seeing the rainbows was wow. My second thought was wanting to share it with someone.

Writing feels that way as well. When I say that I write for myself, mostly I mean I come up with stories for myself. That piece, that desire for make-believe is one I never outgrew. When I read books I liked, I always filled in the gaps in the story, continued on past the ending, you know, did the fanfiction thing. In my head, though, never on paper. Eventually my stories stopped being about someone else’s characters and started being all my own.

Carry enough of those stories around and they eventually want to come out in some way. For me, the logical step was writing. But the thing about writing is that it’s tangible. It’s no longer in the private world of your head. It’s out in the world of other people. Just like the rainbows, or the trains I insist on pointing out to people, even when they aren’t my son, even though he’s now too old to have an interest in trains.

Once imagination crosses that line, it becomes something else. Something you want people to see. That point, that simple step, is a huge one. The difference between telling stories to yourself and telling stories to other people is the difference between coming home and saying “I saw a double rainbow,” and coming home and explaining how the rainbows hung over the gas stations and the strip malls, how they glowed in the air over the four lanes of traffic, how they made you want to stop your car and get out and tell everyone to look up, to stop with all the rush and sound for a moment and just look up, because so many things in life pass so quickly and so often unseen.

A post entirely about love

Sometimes love stories happen like this. Sometimes a girl glances up from a math test and sees a boy looking back at her, and she wonders how she’s never noticed his freckles before that moment. During lunch she waits outside until he walks by, and she says “How’d you do on the quiz,” the words she’s been rehearsing all morning, while inside she’s asking, what did you mean when you looked at me that way.

But that’s just one story. Sometimes she looks up from her test and sees the girl next to her looking back, and they both grin with the thrill of a kiss they shared while studying together last night. Or sometimes she looks up to see two boys glance at one another, a look so private she blushes to see it.

Those stories, they’re still just a little sliver of the possibilities. Sometimes the love that felt perfect at seventeen feels stifling at thirty two, and leaving it behind is part of learning to love yourself. Sometimes it doesn’t stifle, but it feels different than it did all those years ago, and you learn to accept the change.

Sometimes the love stays, but the loved one is lost. Sometimes there’s an accident, or an illness, because sometimes love can be strong, so strong, and still not be strong enough to stop time and fate from doing what they will.

Sometimes, and this is really more than sometimes, this is so common, and so overlooked, sometimes love isn’t romantic at all. Sometimes love begins when someone offers you a cup of coffee on a cold day, and you take it, even though you don’t drink coffee, because you know what the cup really holds is friendship. Sometimes that love is the one that sees you through all the others, the loves that break or change or don’t change, the ones that are gone before you’ve had a chance to live in them fully.

Sometimes love happens with a birth, and sometimes it happens a month later, when through the haze of fatigue you see your child’s smile and it moves you in a way nothing else has. Sometimes love is learning how to believe in your children when the experience of parenting them is nothing like you imagined it would be, when they are not the way you imagined your children would be.

Sometimes love happens at sixteen, but it also happens at twenty six and fifty six. Sometimes love feels different then what you dreamed, or what you remembered. Sometimes it looks nothing like what you thought it would, or like you’ve been told it should. It makes no difference. That love is still love.

There are so many love stories in this world. Can’t we try to do justice to them all?

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