Monday, July 12, 2010

Hungry for the Story

I’ve been told stories. Stories of renewal, loss, abuse, redemption, betrayal. This list goes on. Ever since I was a young child people have sensed something around me—call it a sonar comfort. A force field inviting them to divulge. They open up. Strangers and friends alike verbally unfold the maps of their lives. They let me in. I sit. I listen.

But I’m going to confess to you as I’m listening an invisible thing happens. And I like it. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. Right after the empathetic nod and the tissue pass, transference takes place. As though in the form of molecular droplets, born of tears or sweat, the story makes a leap from the teller to the told.

My brain absorbs those wee molecules and the story lands in a Matrix-like pod in my brain…waiting. Stationed.
Soaked with just the right character or thought the story will become. It will become mutated into an occurrence in one of my novels, a seed for a character flaw or the perfect ending.

Your story becomes my story.

I Mr. (or Mrs., no need to be chauvinist here) Potato Head your tangle of emotions poured out in progressive waves of relief, sadness, contemplation and make my own creation. I pop a measured amount of anonymity here and add adequate discernment and masking there so no one will know it is you. No one will be able to guess where the story came from.

But I know.

I remember.

I thank all those in my real life for helping me develop such a phantasmagorical imaginary one.

I think I now know what that welcoming sonar; force field of invitation is all about. I have an overabundance of empathy and…and I’m hungry for the story.
What are you hungry for?

*photo by flickr


  1. Oh Wendy-- you do exactly what I do. I love to listen to other's stories and those pieces stay with me and come out sooner or later in my writing:) Love the way you wrote this!

  2. Great question, Wendy! I'm hungry for a fresh anointing. Has your spirit ever felt a little dry?

  3. beautifully said here, Wendy. We are a matrix of our experiences, and of stories shared. I've never really considered this, but it is true and, really, a lovely concept.

  4. I'm always hungry for people and their stories. I go through people withdrawal if I'm at my computer too long! LOL!

    I've taken to talking to check out people about their lives instead of just saying hi and have received blessings first and lots of story and character ideas from them.

  5. Wow. I mean, wow. The concept of transference from my story to your brain to your story. But also your writing of how it happens.

    You amaze me.

    I am hungry for peace to overrule the turmoil.


  6. Hi Wendy,

    Boy, you sure have the heart and brain of a writer! I do the same thing, even with movies or scenarios in the grocery store. For me, it's like God is always speaking, showing me something.

    I'm hungry for more and more of His love. I want my motive always to be love and I want His love overflowing out of me onto others.

  7. Nearly every time I read your blog, I walk away enlightened...and often with my jaw dropped.

    You are one cool writer, lady.

  8. Cool post! I'm actually afraid I'll do this, get pubbed and then someone say, this character me? LOL

  9. Wendy, what an incredible post. You know, this makes me wonder if I do the same thing. I know I'm overly empathetic (which is one reason I like to write because it's a good release for some of that), but I don't think I remember the source of things like you do. I know I must have picked up these ideas somewhere because they're nothing I've experienced myself, but I think everything must morph together, if that makes any sense. Very interesting and thought-provoking. Thank you!


  10. The more I learn about you, Wendy, the more you amaze me with how awesome you are. :) I love the idea of the stories living on. I believe that's why there have always been books or storytellers--because we need them. Listening to or reading a story helps us learn about and relate to each other. At the heart of every story is a person. :D

  11. Wendy, that's so cool. I love how you put this. There are times when I listen to others' stories and I'm so enveloped my heart feels what they feel. It's like I'm a part of their experience and I'm able to capture that emotion for stories as well. I love your posts!

  12. Okay, Wendy, first off, I had to look up "phantasmagorical." Phantasmagorical??? Wow. I tend to hunger for the details of the odd and strange. (Please don't tell me what that means-I like my ignorance.) :P

  13. What an amazing gift to be able to absorb so much from a person without taking on the negativity of it as well. Those people who opened up to you were lucky to have you there to listen. You obviously care very much.

  14. Do you keep a journal to write down all those good memories to pull out at just the right time? I had one from a place I worked for 8 years. :O)

  15. I'm hungry for the Holy Spirit.
    And while I was at the book store today I found myself continually drawn to books with similar covers. And I thought of your last post. And I wondered if I always do that and was just never aware of it before. Hmmmm.

  16. Thanks, Terri. It really is an organic thing. I don't notice when it's happening. It's just happened enough I know it does.

    Kathy, Yes. And a fresh anointing sounds fantabulous.

    Tess, I battled between thinking it was selfish somehow and lovely. But I think I can say lovely b/c I'm not aware of it happening when it does. Hope that makes sense.

    Donna, Conversation can spark so many quality aspects for a book.

    Jeanette, I get that. Peace. A side of contentment would be nice as well.

    Julie, That is so cool. It certainly makes me feel more alive. Is that it for you?

    Erica, That means a lot coming from such an engaging writer!

    Jessica, Even more when I work on my memoir, eh? But that's years down the road.

    A.L., A dear friend and I laugh about that. We love the release of writing b/c we intake so much. We are both intense and loving people and writing provides a needed outlet.

    Danyelle, Learning about others-relating...that's the good stuff of life.

    Cindy, It's wild what will bring me to tears. I live vicariously often. I tried to click onto your blog today twice, but both times a no go. ??

    Karen, I love that word. Sometimes I just sneak in some of my favorite words even though they might not fit exactly. It's blogging. I can do that here b/c I know I can't in my novels. Got to be loose somewhere.

    Lily, I wish I could say I never absorbed the negativity. I think I write just as much of a release of that as well. It's a way to funnel it out.

    Diane, Where did you work? Yes, I've kept journals all my life.

    dankasworld, I'm hungry for the Holy Spirit as well. I gravitate to certain kinds of titles too. We're a crazy bunch, aren't humans?

    Still hot here, people. I'm convinced weather reporters keep saying it will be cooler just so people don't go mad. But it always ends up 5 degrees hotter than predicted. I cut our dog's hair today and she's pretty funny lookin'. But cool. In her own way.

    Thanks for jumping in on the conversation about where our stories come from. I'm deeply grateful for those who've entrusted me with their stories. I'll keep them safe. Even as I Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head them. I'll write with dignity. Integrity. In the end I just want to please God.

    ~ Wendy

  17. Mmm... so true. I love to listen as well. I never thought about how those 'told' stories make it into my own works.

  18. What am I hungry for? Beautiful writing. I can never get enough of it.

    I like to let it wash over me. I like to let it's cadence and images find their way into my bones. That's what happens. You're right.

    This is why it's so important to read great books.

  19. We must be soul sisters because I think that listening is my spiritual gift. People magnetize to me with their stories as well. I don't mind. God gave me a great set of ears.

  20. What a wonderful post! The best stories come from real life, don't they?

  21. I am hungry for story too. Because to me their story connects me to their humanity, their joy and brokenness. And in that experience, I feel less alone.

  22. Mentioned you in today's post at the Moonboat. Answered your question on Monday's post. Thanks for asking!

  23. Beautiful thoughts. I've always been the "listener", the one people go to with problems or rantings or just a sigh of discontent. And I tuck them away for future reference.

    What am I hungry for? At the moment, freedom, and for my life to become story again. I remember when story and life were one. They've split and drifted and I'm hungry for them to combine once more.


  24. This was such an insightful post. I mean, it really made me stop and think about what I do. I do love a good story. I will have to think about this a bit more. Thanks for causing me to dig deeper as a writer.
    As for hungry for? Hmm, I'd have to say more of God and less of me. Lately, I've seen a whole lot more of me and it is NOT a pretty thing.

  25. Love this! What a great way to look at it.
    Blessings to you and your readers,
    Karen :)

  26. I love to listen to people's stories too. Sometimes my family gets frustrated because even the checker at the grocery store will blurt out her life story to me while checking my groceries. Maybe I encourage people to talk to me just by being a good listener:)


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