Collecting Stories

I’m in the middle of a 14 day work shift.  I’m having the kind of month that I just know I won’t survive without my daily attitude adjustment, double shots of Emergen-C and quick intervals of yoga stretches (if I drank coffee I’d be on a caffeine drip).

I had to participate in a 4 day trade show and if you’ve ever exhibited at one of these long 12 hour day trade shows you have an idea of how I’m feeling.  Knackered.

Of course my way of getting through any event or function is to connect with people because not only do I like people but I also like their stories.  Stories energize me.

How do you stay energized in stressful situations?  

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I have never had a problem with getting people to tell me their stories.  Of course whether their stories are true or false I wouldn’t know and I’m not sure it actually matters.  I don’t intend to write biographies but I do intend to steal elements of their stories.

Does that make me a bad person? 😀

Which makes me wonder.  What is the purpose or intention behind the story-writing?  Do we write because we are collectors and memory-keepers or futurists and mirrors?  Perhaps, all of these?

Over the course of the last few days I have met a man who survived a grizzly bear attack and wears a bear claw to prove it; another man whose father saved a few hundred Polish Jews from Hitler’s invading army (in such an ingenious manner that I can’t believe more decent people didn’t think of it); a young woman who raised all five of her younger siblings on her own and a man who while out hunting for deer was himself hunted by a pack of wolves.

You can imagine how all this has the writer in me buzzing with excitement.  I can’t wait to get a day or two off so I can start planning another batch of short stories despite having to work on two others that require extensive ‘tweaking’.

How do stories wing their way to you?

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24 thoughts on “Collecting Stories

  1. Just like that! Hearing other people’s experiences or listening to snatches of conversation in a coffee shop or the train can provide a wealth of material. I can’t wait to hear how that man saved all those people from Hitler! Some stories just have to be written.

    • When he told me that story I couldn’t believe he or anyone in his family had not written a book about it. If what he told me is true his family deserve to be honoured and remembered for what they did. Nonetheless it was such a great story that I will attempt to do it justice 🙂

  2. Yes, as Jenny said, just like that! You have some wonderful writing fodder there Yolanda, it is wonderful hearing other people’s stories isn’t it? I love talking to people about their lives and adventures…and then to be able to read about them in story form is even better 🙂 Hope you get a chance to rest up soon, sounds like a crazy busy time for you…

    • So true Sherri 🙂 Canada because of it’s history and landscape is rich in stories – most of them truly incredible and wild. What I have enjoyed immensely is meeting people who actually fought in WWII and people who have memories of living through it.

  3. I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a stressful month, Yolanda. I hope things slow down for you long enough to start working on a story or two…you’ve got some great fodder.
    I confess…I eavesdrop. 🙂 I also get ideas from articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve had. Sometimes I feel like pulling out my notebook during the conversation, but I refrain.

    • For some reason (mostly marketing reasons) 😉 the months leading up to Christmas are always the craziest. Oh yes eavesdropping! love it and I do it everywhere. I read somewhere that most writers get their ideas from reading newspaper articles and I must say our local community paper is certainly inspiring 😀 I love how the ordinary and mundane can be transformed into something altogether more sinister…;-)

      • Oh yes, the local stories are often the most inspirational. Our paper used to publish “How we meet” every Sunday. Couples would write in and share their stories. They were so much fun to read.I’ve got stacks of stories that I cut out for future fodder. I don’t know why they cut that segment.

  4. What a work schedule! People ask me where I get my ideas. My blog’s focus is humor (at least mostly) but it’s topic are broad. People inspired me. If I don’t have a dose of people interaction for a few days, my idea meter starts running down. I know it’s time to schedule lunch with my of my crazy friends or even crazier relatives. Sometimes it’s just going to the mall and observing that does it.

  5. “Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal.” ~> So steal their stories and mold them with other elements. They are clay. You are the potter!

    Hope you survive without needing a caffeine drip. Keep an emergency stash of chocolate handy . . . just in case!

  6. I’m exactly the same, Yolanda. I hear people’s stories and I take snippets of them and use them in my own writing. It’s the way we work as writers – someone’s got to tell the story! 😉

  7. That is a crazy, hectic 14 days situation but amidst the chaos, you found some treasures from people who shared their stories. I collect stories, probably have written over 20 love stories, which I like to analyze how people get love to ‘work out.’ But along the way, you heard some wonderful story starters. Good girl, don’t give away your thoughts just a ‘tease’ until you have time to flesh them out. Yolanda, good luck with your work schedule, hope you find some serenity and quiet moments. Wishes for you to feel rejuvenated and able to hit the workplace all over again, with your feet running! Enjoy your weekend, hopefully off from work!

  8. I’m catching up on yours :p
    Everyone has a story to tell, we just need to take time to listen and oftentimes we get to hear the most amazing stories.

    • Thank you Andrea 🙂 I have just finished reading your story ‘Reckoning’ in Popshot mag (what a great magazine!). What a clever clever story Andrea. The ending ‘Live or die. The choice has always been yours’ made my skin prickle with the truth of it. Wonderful!! xoxo

  9. Yolanda what a people watching fest that would have been. Not to mention the stories. Great character ideas come to me in crowded places. Stories usually come from a visual of something I see. Sometimes a fractured conversation even just one line can get the mind racing. I love How it is different for everyone. kath.

    • I hear you Kath – a line of conversation usually leads to an endless stream of conjecture (in my case). Hubby and I like playing that game in restaurants where we finish off another couple’s lines or imagine their lives – very entertaining 😀

  10. Yolanda, right now I’m visiting with my mom (91 years old) and two sisters (70 and 68) for a couple of days. Long story short: my mom and one sister, who live in the north, have brought an treasure trove of gossip involving family members, blood and by marriage, to share with me and my other sister who live in the south. Believe me, this is all fodder for stories. My problem is how to disguise the stories well enough that family members won’t recognize themselves if they happen upon one of them. Of course, some of these stories are even too rich for soap operas 😉 I think it’s wonderful that other people’s stories get your imagination racing 🙂

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