“The purpose of the storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” ~ Brandon Sanderson, fantasy and science fiction writer
“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist
This post contains affiliate links.
Since I started my Story-Power podcast, I’ve been trying to come up with a “elevator speech” about why I’m so passionate about stories. My answer is this: Since I’m an emotional explorer, stories are one of the major tools I use to understand the nuances of my own emotions and those of others.
I use stories like some people use music, to find answers to questions about my emotional life, or to sooth myself when I’m frazzled.
Every Tuesday night, Barry likes to listen to and participate in an online tech vlog, which means he needs the bandwidth. I usually read, but this past Tuesday I was in the mood for a quiet Sam Elliott movie. I chose, Conagher (1991) based on the Louis L’Amour book. It’s a gentle western, which is the kind of westerns Louis L’Amour writes. The descriptions of the landscape, or emotional states of the characters are accomplished in just a few sentences. Yet, for me at least, I can see what the character sees and feel what they are feeling without them saying a word. His stories usually have a love story at the heart of the action. There are very few gun or fist fights. Here’s the description of the movie, “A tough cowboy facing some trouble crosses paths with a lonely woman living in the middle of nowhere.”
Conagher is tough in that he’s a highly moral, emotionally intelligent character who doesn’t condone laziness or deceit in his fellow cowboys. He’s not loud about his point of view, but everyone knows. And his enemies are unscrupulous, immature men who think that Conagher is challenging them just by being who he is.
The lonely woman is widow Evie, played by Katherine Ross, who’s husband brought his family West to start a cattle ranch. But he’s killed in a riding accident on his way to purchase the cattle, and Evie is left with her two step children to find a way to survive. About two or three months after their arrival, the stage coach line hires Evie and her stepson, Laban to provide services for the passengers and horses until their permanent station is built. That’s how the family meet Conagher. He’s one of the men bringing the horses for the stage line.
The love story is developed through looks and deeds. Conagher and Evie never say, “I love you,” even at the end when they get together. I think that’s one of the things I love about this story, and Louis L’Amour’s writing. Everything the characters in his books do is spare. They have deep feelings but they show them rather than use flowery words. He’s a writer I try to emulate, because I tend to use too many words to express complex ideas and feelings. But it’s sometimes better to convey those with just a few words and through the actions of the characters.
I think it should be that way in life as well. The old adage, deeds speak louder than words is true. When Barry does something that needs to be done around the house without asking, I feel his love and care for me. I’ve been working on showing my love for him and the others in my life in more concrete ways. I have to say, it feels good.
Watching Conagher, reminded me, since I’ve begun working on my second novel again, to tell my story without the long descriptions. After all, I don’t want to tire my readers out with a bunch of unnecessary story stopping descriptions.
I’d be interested to hear what kinds of stories you love and what you’ve learned from them.
Have a lovely weekend. I hope you enjoy reading or watching some meaningful stories.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2023
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
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. You may have seen my Story-Power posts here. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about your favorite stories, come join me at either SageWoman.life, or 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.