Behold Life

When humans gather together, we usually tell each other stories. One story goes like this: Things are bad and about to get a lot worse. Here, the storyteller is a like a town crier, bringing the most alarming headlines of the day to his friends. Usually the one who enjoys this story the most is the town crier himself. It’s fun to be the center of attention, and scaring people is a sure way to get their attention. So on the plus side, everyone in the room is paying attention to the same thing; on the down side, everyone is also depressed, because there’s rarely anything anyone can do about the supposed problem. Another story we like to tell goes like this: Listen to this awesome thing I did. This is also called bragging. The storyteller doesn’t always mean to brag; he’s just excited about his own life. It’s good to be excited about life as you are leading it, but how to share this excitement? It turns out a list of accomplishments doesn’t work. The audience is left to feel only jealousy or awe, but not excitement. Nothing is really shared.

The last type of story goes like this: Behold life! This story does not end with a problem that needs to be solved, nor does it single out one person above another. In this story, everyone is allowed to be happy because life belongs equally to everyone. The storyteller is simply looking at life from his unique point of view. It is the same life everyone is seeing, but in sharing the author’s view the audience is allowed to behold life anew.

Humans never tire of seeing life anew. It’s all we ever look at, and yet we can’t get enough of it. We can’t get enough of awakening to life, having drifted briefly into our nightmares of doom and fantasies of heroism. How nice to hear a story that literally brings us back to life, that shows us life not as something to fear and fix, nor as something we might have one day, but that which we already have completely, simply by living.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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