Month: August 2014

The Power of Story

I’ve never been a big T.V. person. If I had leisure time, I read a book. Since I retired, that has changed somewhat. My husband is a T.V. person so now I spend some time with him watching a few old favorites. He loves the old westerns we used to watch as kids–Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, etc., as well as the movies. We have the Western channel which means that Matt Dillon or Wyatt Earp can ride into our den every afternoon via the flat screen. I spend my mornings writing which gives me some time with Sonny, Matt, Paladin, and Wyatt in the afternoon unless I can find better things to do.

One day while watching these classics, it occurred to me that all of these people were no longer with us. I knew this already of course, but it became very apparent when I realized I couldn’t find a single person in those classics still living with the exception of Hugh O’Brien who played Wyatt Earp. I turned to Sonny. “I guess you know we’re sitting here watching a bunch of dead people.” He just looked at me and said, “Yeah, I know.” It amazes me that they can look so alive on the screen and we sit and watch the stories as though they just happened and yet all of the actors are already gone. Their work finished.

The same thing happens with books for those of us who are readers. Never mind that Margaret Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Jane Austen and scores of others have already passed on. Those stories are still very much alive for us and everyone else who enters their world. It says a lot about the power of words and story. Once those stories come alive on the page or the screen, they can influence people for many years to come long after you’ve left this earth. In one way, it’s a little scary. It means as a writer I have a responsibility to do the very best I can, to keep learning and improving, to write a story that will come alive every time someone opens the pages containing my words.w I still have much to learn if I want someone in 2114 to be moved by what I’ve written in 2014.