Delicately crafted genius in the telling of stories is engrossment so great you might accidentally slip into the account. Arms open, hands at the ready with shoulders caving inwards, and back bent, then extended, contorting to the twists and turns of the tale. I think truly riveting stories possess the teller every time.
Everything around us is based on a story: our upbringing, history, business models and even advertising. Some people are trying to sell to you, others eager to inspire, and a small few ask that you heed their warnings. Stories are written with soul, with words that encompass an event, a feeling, and then some. We tell stories all the time: when we document an event and its outcome, when we go back to something we said before, or when we’re lending our wisdom, we are running through a plot to paint a picture for our audience.
I like to tell stories because they encompass much more than ‘the point’.
Within a story, loose threads tie into larger tales unknown to us, where the edge of imagination begins. It’s everything we’ve never done and never tried and never seen. From there, a great deal of our fears are born and bred, pushing us away from the places of adventure and innovation. Sometimes, we give up all restraint and let them box us into spaces of hopelessness and empty cynicism. Tapping into this wealth of “unknown” is how people imagine solutions and create awe-worthy content for you and I’s consumption.
There is, however, another dimension of telling the story that is more profound to me.
In Arabic, there is a proverb that goes,
”A kind word can break the hardest stick.”
I think about that a lot. Every time I’ve fallen into someone’s compassion, my sadness was at the mercy of their deliverance. And like the flower that blooms under the rain, I would wear my grief heavy, but the grip of a kind word kept my back straight. I want my stories like this, laced with warmth, and for the weary traveler to settle in them, for them to quiet all that is sore. In saying that, I remember all that has delivered me and kept me safe all this time. This is all that is beautiful about stories.
So I need to tell you that things can die in the world of imagination, too.
We don’t need imagination to write stories. We only need to be alive. So when violence is exacted time and again, don’t doubt that this is more than a fear and hatred of the unknown. There is a place where fear meets bigotry under a large willow, where they share ideas of intellectualism, conflating them with intolerance. Their stories have been told to me so many times that they have made homes in me. So much, my lips clamour to make noise in the place of pain. Especially when my hands are caught in places where my fingers run over their blades again, and again, and again.
What I am saying is, would they have still held my head under the water if I could have shown them what they did?
Could I have told a better story to soften them and change their minds? Please tell me that I could.
I want the tide to turn for us.