I don't know about everyone else, but I've always got a story on my mind. Everywhere I go I see bits and pieces of lives and legacies. Old houses, graveyards surrounded by wrought iron fences, abandoned fields, fallow and overgrown, people laughing, crying, stone-faced, joyous. In each one I see a story waiting to be told. Or one that has already been told and only needs to be written.
When I was a kid, we'd travel from Maryland to Massachusetts a couple of times a year. During those long trips, I'd sit lost in my own world while my four siblings chattered and played. Outside the window, the world beckoned, filled with adventure, mystery. People. So many people with so many experiences. I could imagine them all. I still can.
This past week, I left my laptop at home, thinking that would somehow separate me from the stories constantly dancing through my mind. Alas, computer separation did nothing to quiet the what-ifs that seem so much a part of who I am. What if someone is living in that tiny shack beside the water? What if that person is hiding from someone? What if...?
I think I'm diseased. Or maybe I'm gifted with an overactive imagination.
One way or another, I'm beginning to realize that I'm not just a writer. I'm a storyteller. I think if I'd been born a thousand years ago, I'd have been that - a storyteller committed to passing a legacy of words and knowledge from one generation to another.
But I wasn't. And so I write fiction and pass on different words and different legacies. I think at least one of my kids will do the same one day. My daydreamer. My imaginative one. My guy who follows the stories in his head as closely as he follows the world around him.
Maybe for us writing isn't what it's all about. Maybe what it's all about are the stories singing in the night, echoing in the quiet hours before dawn, whispering in the busy hours of the day.
I wonder. What is it all about for you? The words? The story? The characters? Or that driving, undeniable need to commit thought to paper and create a world from the seeds of imagination?