Stories About Stories or Not
Thirteen years ago this week I had been blogging for three months, and instant publishing was all fresh and enlivening. My HERE and my WHO were unknown but apparently of some interest to others who would become regular Fragments readers. I had a very few visitors then (how on earth did they find me?) who wanted to see more and hear more. I was soon labeled as a “blogger about place” and the ECOTONE was born. But that’s another story.
I guess the point of this ramble is to ask out loud and mostly to myself if I have more stories worth telling, or if old stories can be told better after thirteen-plus years of keystrokes. On this, I burn hot and I burn cold.
As you might have enduredÂ on this page a number of times over the past few years, I’ve ruminated and anguished about the increasing lack of reach and loss of satisfaction with this blog that was once pretty much front and center of my intellectual and emotional life–an outlet into which I poured myself every day before sunrise–without hope and without despair, as some writer described our obligations to write.
And so I’ve come close more often lately to the brink of declaring that I’m done with all of it–the blogging, speaking, researching, thinking about another book. That was then. Everything ends. So be it.
But the Good Devil on the other shoulder keeps pulling my smoldering resignation out of the fire.
“Wait a minute there, young fella. What if all your earlier grampa tales and eco-rants and hearts-and-minds writing–including both of your books–were just the warm-up to what you might create now that you’re not a novice any longer? Wouldn’t that opportunity–and obligation–make cashing in your chips a big mistake?”
So both little devils have had my ear, off and on this month.
And being the good devil’s advocate, I tell myself:Â “Fred, your books are not stale. The topics have not gone out of date. Don’t buy into the “chronological snobbery” that says anything with a publication date more than a year old is uninteresting and unimportant.”
And I go on to tell me that “your writing has been a way of confirming your conviction that we begin to move forward hopefully as a species and a civilization by reclaiming our damaged relationships to the natural world–that thing you refer to as a “personal ecology.” You have a new synthesis from the 2006 and 2009 books that you can share all over again to the same Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and friends of various libraries. You might not sell so many books as before, but then again, you might be surprised.”
So the Good Devil has got me thinking. I go back and forth when I hold this up to the light. Great idea! What a crock of crap. I need to get back on the horse and charge the hill. I am too old and worn and irrelevant to go jousting any more windmills at this age!
Another possible piece of the rebirth of story-telling zeal is that there are so many more media and methods to show-not-tell than there were in 2002 when I started writing.Â I’ll toss this little bit your way, those who have persevered to the end of this ramble: A quick-drafted group of images by way of Shorthand.social with a few full-screen shots of sky and cloud I called “Atmospheres.” A real story, of course, would also have narrative text.
This is just one of a dozen story formats worthy of a look with the gestating intention of finding other audiences who might care, once again, to let me share from this time and place in the world.