Disclaimer: This post is long and personal and very far from what you usually see here.
Lately, I've spent lots of time thinking about why I love reading. It's the one thing I can always turn to for comfort, for escape, for pleasure, for education, for laughter, for insight, for fun. That led me to thinking about all of the time I also spend watching TV and movies, some of which DT teases me for (mostly The Real Housewives, but I mean, come on). The truth is, I just love storytelling. No matter the medium, I want to be told a story.
There have been so many articles recently about how we're living in a golden age of television, with more and more networks getting into the original series game and producing truly great shows. Last summer, my mom sent me an article from The Boston Globe written by Matthew Gilbert, one of our favorite critics, talking about television shows as the canon, comparing them to The Great Books.
He calls Breaking Bad Kafkaesque, The Wire Dickensian. And why do these shows garner such high praise? They are telling us stories that we either haven't heard before or retelling them in an original way.
I don't see an afternoon spent watching TV as an afternoon wasted. For me, it's an enriching experience that always leaves me having learned something, having seen something new. I can curl up with a good book, or Netflix, and be transported somewhere else.
It really is this telling of stories that is of utmost importance. Every night I spent with my grandparents in Maine this summer, we would sit around the dinner table, drinking seemingly endless bottles of red wine, and they would tell stories. Stories from when they were young, from when they were dating, from when my grandmother was a nurse and my grandfather was on the fire department. I often think that I need to write these stories down, to keep track of them, to hold onto them forever. But when I'm sitting there, listening, the last thing on my mind is stopping to write it down because I'm so entranced by the story itself, by the details, picturing the setting and the characters involved.
My dad was a storyteller. Not the most succinct, but a storyteller nonetheless. We would tease him about all the erroneous details. "It was July...wait, was it July? Hmm, it was hot out, but it may have been earlier. Well, anyway..."
His stories filled in the gaps in his life and the more stories he told, the more we learned about him. I didn't find out he was in the Navy until a few summers ago when my parents came down to DT's beach house and he mentioned it to DT's grandfather. One Christmas, he casually let everyone know that he once took a mime class with Marcel Marceau. His life story was being filled in, one anecdote at a time.
He passed away in March. I didn't write about it then because I didn't know how. I'm still not sure. But today got me thinking about how when he was gone, so were his stories, the ones he hadn't told.
One of the last things we talked about was writing. He knew I loved it, but had put it on the back burner in recent years. He asked me if I wanted to write a novel. I said yes, but I wasn't sure if I had the discipline for it. He smiled and said that he knew I did.
I started this blog as an outlet for my writing, but got lost somewhere along the way. Much of it was fear of sharing myself like that, so publicly. And part of it was laziness because writing is hard. It doesn't always come easily and it's not always good. But I want to try.
There are stories that I have to tell.