“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.” ~ Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist
My life is in transition. I’m winding down teaching. In fact, I may not even have students for my favorite class this fall. That’s all good with me. I’ve been ready to concentrate on Story-Power, this blog, and working on my novel for quite some time. It’s not that I won’t write about my spiritual journey, or how I feel about current events, but lately I’ve begun to realize that everything that happens to us in life, we turn into stories. And I’m a bit like Sylvia Plath. I want to experience everything, or as much of it as I can. That’s what stories do for me. I’m able to get a glimpse into someone else’s emotions and experiences when I chat with them, or when I read a book, or watch a movie or TV show. It’s not exactly the same as experiencing it myself, but it’s close.
One day I was doing a MindValley lesson with Jeffrey Allen and he said something that gave me another insight into why I love stories so much. He said something like, “We watch movies so we can feel emotions.” And I said to myself, “That’s it! Stories help us examine emotions at a safe distance.” Maybe we have had some bad experiences that have left us feeling damaged and vulnerable and we think if we go to those dark places in our minds, we’ll get lost there. But examining those dark feelings through characters in a story can be helpful.
I’ve actually been thinking of writing a book about my personal experiences of discussing stories with my parents and how that has helped me take what I learned from the characters in the stories and apply them in the real world. It’s our emotions that get us into trouble most of the time. I believe that exploring lots of different kinds of stories and using them as a kind of therapy is a good thing. My parents also used stories as a way for us to communicate some of our deepest feelings without feeling embarrassed. We could use the characters experiences as a substitute for our own.
Another thing I love about stories, as Sylvia Plath indicated, I can examine emotions and situations that I might never experience. In a way it’s like living many lifetimes vicariously. How cool is that!
It’s my sincere belief that we are either extremely curious about other people, or conversely, we are afraid of others because we see them as hostile toward us. In either case, examining stories can help us learn to live more easily with others.
I will start off this series by sharing what I’ve learned about living on this planet, one story at a time. The insights I gained from watching or reading the story and how I applied the lessons to my everyday life. I’m not a parent, but I have seen the eyes of my students light up during discussions of a story when I indicate that they can take the lessons it offers and use them in their everyday lives. That was obviously not something they had ever thought of before. That’s the message I want to share. Stories teach us important lessons that we can use in our encounters with our fellow human beings.
I hope you’ll share your insights from a book, movie, TV show, or personal interaction with us. I want to learn from you as much as from all the media I consume and my personal connections.
Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2022
The Space Between Time
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.
If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.