This week I want to embrace stories and how they are important not only to our everyday life but also how we do research, our jobs and the experiences we retain.
How often do you write down your everyday stories? You know, the boring, mundane stuff nobody, not even you might be interested in?
I must admit I don't as a general rule, but as I get older I realise they contain invaluable life lessons, experiences and thoughts intertwined into them that we may not want to forget.
So I've started to at least make an effort. As I focus my writing more around these stories and integrate them into the things I learn, it is made even more wonderful by some of the comments I have received in return.
Writing down your stories goes beyond journaling. It's the next step from "I did this..." or a one liner on what happened that day. It's a third person perspective of what was there, what was felt and what was experienced by the character. It doesn't have to be about you. They capture the details like the weather and the smells, the time of day and what you were eating. Like a fiction novel, they read more to captivate and involve you rather than to inform or teach.
Because we can write them in the moment or when fresh in the mind, the attention to detail can be very insightful. By experiencing something personally it can make for more powerful writing. It is this process that then teaches us. We see new insights and perspectives. Interweaving them with some artistic licence and you can create something wonderful.
Yesterday my daughter and I went for a walk. It was a short walk that as I child I would have done frequently. Yet as an adult it was, for some reason, fraught with danger; "don't get your shoes muddy", "watch the barbed wire", "there's a big hole here somewhere" and, "we won't be able to get through that way".
As my daughter wove her way effortlessly around brambles, gorse and bracken, she chattered excitedly about her adventure. Whilst she clambered up muddy slopes and sloshed carefree through wet sphagnum, I felt a distinct separation from the world as a child and the world as an adult. The moss had become 'wet and soggy', the mud 'slippy and dirty' and obstacles 'awkward and in the way'. God forbid clothes got ruined on protruding thorns and branches.
Despite the dangers we faced, we returned safe and sound, my daughter thoroughly proud of the journey. And I returned with a story and some inspiration to write.
As a child, exploring the great outdoors with no purpose in mind, is one of early life's great joys. Yet as an adult we have lost connection with that sense of adventure; the sense of a story unwritten. We feel the need to plan everything out and reduce the risk of any objects that may get in our way.
Experiments, journeys, meals, the work day, hobbies. Everything is planned.
So today I would like to give you a prompt - leave your life unwritten for the day, and then write about what happened. Weave it into a story, a lesson, an idea or your research. I'd love to know what you got up to.