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Everyone Has a Story

Lots of people seem to think their lives are uneventful. Nothing that interesting ever happens to them, nothing worth writing down. I don’t think that is true.

Last week I wrote to you about lovely Ida, whom I met at a yard sale. It was quite a memorable experience for me. I can think of many weeks when I’ve sat down to write one of these letters and easily recalled something that happened or something a friend or stranger had said that provided me with a story to tell. I don’t think that is exclusive to me. I think everyone has a story. Everyone has multiple stories.

I often see one or both of these owls in our backyard.

My Aunt Marie, for example, probably would have said that her life was not that interesting. She lived with her mother nearly all her life. But she had stories! She once told me that she’d gone to a new dentist one time and he died. She found another, went to him just one time, and he died. Found a third, went to him once only and guess what? He died! So it’s not a big story and I’m not sure if there’s any deep meaning to it–but it’s a head-scratcher and definitely worth telling. I can still see the way her face looked as she told it. Amused but also a little bit naughty. (The next dentist my aunt went to survived her first appointment and many more. Unfortunately, I went to him one time and found him to be a mean, crabby, horrible man.)

Aunt Marie also had a passing acquaintance with Tina Turner!

So I had this conversation with a friend about the fact that everyone’s life is interesting in some way and could be written up into a book or a set of short stories. Just look at StoryCorps. There, you can listen to story after story, told by ordinary people about their particular lives. Oh, some are pretty big, sometimes astonishing, sometimes chilling. But some are just quiet little stories told by regular people like you and me.

My quiet little story about Ida last week elicited many responses from you readers. And it is one that will affect me for a long time. We all have stories. And our stories are worth telling, worth writing down. I bet you wish you knew the stories of someone who’s no longer here to tell them. I know I do. I bet you have a story to tell of your own. I bet someone you care about will want to know it. Write it down. Tell it. It’s yours. That makes it worth telling.

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” ― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

“Listen, and you will realize that we are made not from cells or from atoms. We are made from stories.” ― Mia Couto

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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