the stories bubbling up inside us


Last week, Remy said to me that he didn't tell stories to himself. We were talking about his day at school and how they had been making up stories to write down and he said he didn't know how to tell stories.

And since that is just not true, I told him right there: you are a story teller, Remy. A great one. He makes up stories out loud all the time, telling them to himself as he plays. He just hadn't recognized them as stories. So, I started pointing out to him, as he played, the story he was telling. I think he has started recognizing them now as he talks them out, though he still has problems pulling threads of the story apart so he can write them on demand. (And even more difficulty writing a story someone else wants him to write. More craft for him to learn. Yes.)

Still, it is a very rare occasion for him not to be in the middle of an epic adventure story. This is how he lives his life and it is glorious! At the same time, this is exactly the quality that sets him apart and makes him strange to other kids and to typical people (after all, he's talking to himself). And this sad fucking fact (that typical children and people are sometimes cruel to those who are different) means he does much less internal story telling at school/ in public. And that also makes it harder for him to write at school. He tells stories here at home, where he is safe.

(I tell stories here on my blog, where I am safe. I am also a story teller.)

It started (as all art does) with learning craft -  retelling stories he'd heard (from various media). This was the strong stream of echolalia in his speech, even before we could piece together the words he was saying because they were too fast. Only individual words ever made sense, before he started preschool here in NJ. And then he learned to slow the stream down, to differentiate the tumble of words and he started speaking sentences to us, sentences we could understand.

And as he grows, his stories get more and more complex (and further from echolalia, though he still speaks in quotes just as his dad and I do, sometimes). His stories are visual, so he's often telling them as he draws or plays with Lego mini figures.

And he's done some writing down of the stories (especially in graphic novel form), but right now, he doesn't write fast enough and that's holding him back. He writes down pieces of the story and it only really makes sense to him (and that is okay). As he gets faster at writing (and learns to type - which is when I really started coming into my own as a writer, since I can type faster than I can write by hand), he'll start being able to write down more and more of the stories he has bubbling inside.

He is a story teller. I aim to keep him a story teller.

All of us have stories bubbling deep inside of us. Our thoughts are stories (you don't have to believe them, but that's a different story for me to tell you - remind me later). Stories are how we navigate this world. Stories differentiate us, one from another. The story of me is different than the story of you. The story of us is different than the story of the other. No one dreams the same dreams. No one tells the same story.

In recognizing our stories, in starting to tell them, we find in ourselves among the common thread of all story: this fragile thread of life, glistening in the sun as the rain falls heavy on us. Pain and fear and love and joy.

We are human. We are alive. We are glorious.

We are story tellers. Some of us tell our stories publicly. Some of us keep them internal. But we are all story tellers. Our stories are words or images. Our stories could be dance or poetry, music or sculpture. Our stories might just be snippets of memory, mashed together in a unique way that makes us, us. All these stories matter. We are worthy.

Every single one of us.