Perhaps if I lived in a different time or a different place everyone around me would understand if I told them, “All I have left in me is one good story.” That I cannot tell that story to the empty air would also be understood. I can write and write and write and write, but for me writing is not the same thing as telling.
Where is a story when it’s not being told? Is it, like our memories themselves lying around in shards and shreds, in pieces and parts within our minds — somewhere? Or is a story a living thing that has no slumbering existence at all, existing only when it is falling from somebody’s activated lips?
Perhaps it is because so much of the body of my story as I imagine telling it, probably to my daughter, is so much about being alone in solitary confinement, in isolation and in silence (in between the terrors of traumatic abuse over those first 18 years of my life) that my story is frozen there, askew akimbo, in limbo, and cannot take on a life of its own if there is no caring listener to help it be born.
Perhaps my story– spoken (or written) into silence — would be worse than no story at all. Perhaps, formed THAT way my story would be no story, just an ongoing pause, more of the same, a restless opera hanging around getting parts of itself stuck in cobwebs while the rest of it fades and fades and fades into silence like notes at the end of an echo.
Is a museum a museum if it’s empty? Is an art gallery a gallery if it doesn’t contain a single piece of art? Is a story a story if there’s nobody there to hear it but the teller? I think not. In all these cases I think not.