Stories: Big Or Small Or Medium-Sized
I’ve been attending and hosting a few different talks lately around London. I love this part of what I do. It’s one of my favourite things because I get to talk and listen, and meet new people. I LOVE CHATS. I’ve been hosting panels, or sitting on panels, or interviewing on stage – basically it’s an IRL version of what I love doing for my podcast (talking to people and asking them questions about creativity and careers). Learning. Listening. Sharing.
Something that made me a bit sad on a few occasions, was a recurring question (or theme, I suppose) from people I’d meet. Here are some of the things that a few people who attended the event said, as we’d have a glass of wine afterwards. We’d discuss. I would think about it again on the way home.
“I wish I could write something. But I’m not that interesting.”
“I would write, but I have nothing to say.”
“My life is dull. I have no stories to tell.”
I had so many thoughts on this.
Two conflicting thoughts mainly:
You don’t have to be interesting to write an interesting story.
But, we are all interesting.
What if we are all interesting.
What if we all have a story.
I truly believe we all do.
It doesn’t mean all our lives will get turned into blockbuster films. I am no Erin Brokovich. I have accepted this will never happen. (WHAT A WOMAN. WHAT A STORY.)
It’s OK not to have a BIG, MAD, BAD LIFE.
I think the smaller, quieter aspects of life are interesting too. Don’t you?
We all have things and topics and experiences and themes to write about. Everyone’s experiences are valid and we’ve all learned something a long the way. Sometimes we can train ourselves into finding things to write about on demand.
I just read a book called “Ego Is The Enemy”. This book outlines the damage in believing anyone is more special or worthy or more important. They aren’t. If anyone tries to make you feel less important or insignificant, just breathe: it’s just not true.
There are a few things that have happened to me that I think are interesting. Interesting enough for me to just want to write them down into a book, but I would never have done it if I had crippled myself into thinking my thoughts weren’t valid.
(I am also now DRY as a bone after writing those fourteen chapters).[Most of life is fucking boring]. [Life will not always be A Viral Essay.]
The contents page of my book – my chapters – are all things made me feel and made me learn. And being a human-being meant I had a burning desire to pass them on. That, for me, came in the form of writing. Writing makes things interesting. Just the act of writing them down and playing with the words makes it all a bit more interesting.
We read blogs and words and watch videos from normal people. We want to know more about the people around us, not just The Big Sparkling Lives Of Celebrities.
Also: being a woman (all these comments above came from young women) echoes the fact that for years we have been told our stories or opinions aren’t interesting. Especially those who experience more intense forms of oppression and marginalization than I do. I write because it’s my small act of saying: my thoughts are valid. As a woman I am valid. As a human-being with a certain number of years on earth I am valid. I am valid. This is a message I always want to spread, to everyone.
You are valid, and so is everything (big or small) that has ever happened to you. People like hearing other people’s stories. We would never see no to sitting around a campfire.
To the people who say “I’m not interesting” – you are. You are so interesting. The smallest thing could be more intriguing or fascinating to someone. I bet there is something you thought of late at night that someone would love to hear. I bet there is something you could be ashamed of that if other people read they could feel less alone. Something that one day, you will be ready to share. There might be something you are curious about, that has not yet been written much about. It could be you to start a new conversation. There is so much to discuss right now. And no one else is you.
Sometimes life is not interesting and that is why we watch films, tell stories of the past, re-watch the same Shakespeare plays re-told thousands of times, or write fiction.
I believe the truth is always stranger than fiction.
A lot of people have no desire to write their story. They may have no impulse to write it even though they have had an extraordinary life. But if you have a desire to write, to share, to create, there is always something to write about. It might take a while to locate the story, but it is there. Write anyway.
We are unique and at the same time we are not unique. That is why we tell stories. That is why stories are universal.
We are not special snowflakes.
But we are all interesting.
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