Monday, August 13, 2012

Collecting Stories


I’ve always liked the idea of collecting spoons. Haven’t pursued that with fervor yet. I do own over a dozen Willow Tree figurines. My mom and I got into a groove of exchanging those for years. I’ve pretty much maxed out my collection.
It hit me the other day. I don’t actually collect anything physical—anything I can hold in my hands.

What I really collect...stories.
I’m building a library inside my brain.

It’s not actual books I enjoy having in my possession, as I take out many books from the library and tend to give my books away readily.
It’s the stories.

And every single story has a way of fueling my love of writing.
That library—the one I’m building inside my brain reminds me of the infamous line, “If you build it they will come.”

My Field of Dreams lives inside my own characters, characters stitched together from my experiences, my robust and sometimes stubbornly present imagination. My Field of Dreams is fashioned from the hundreds of stories embedded in the depths of my memory and make up. I carry these influences with me everywhere. They alter my perception, increase my will to empathize, and encourage my passion of communicating through the art of story.

The lush benefits of reading and writing are so intricately intertwined it’s oftentimes difficult to discern which invigorates me more.
But make no mistake. This is no chicken and egg, which came first conundrum.

Reading came first.
Writing was born out of my love of reading—the powerful force, the electric charge that strums the soul when a character comes alive with felt relevance for the reader.

Nothing I hold in my hands has the potential to do what only stories are meant to.
Are you building a library inside your brain? Do you collect anything of great significance to you?

21 comments:

  1. I love the idea of collecting a library inside your head! In my younger years, I collected Precious Moments figurines. I still can't get rid of them because I'm a sentimental collector--each one represents a special event or person. Now, I collect books in the same way. Not rare or valuable ones, but ones that mean something to me, that touch me in a special way and make me want to share them with others. (Even if I give a title away, I usually try to replace it!) But like you, I also collect stories, current and past, marveling at how God grace and mercy in some aspect of every single one.

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    1. My first comment down there was for you, Anne. Not sure how I goofed that.

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  2. What a cool idea, Wendy. I've read more stories than I can count, and so many pieces of each one float around in my brain too. And I collect Willow Tree figurines! I have quite a few but still have a lot left to get. :)

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  3. I love this, the idea of collecting things in my mind--stories, memories impressions. Very cool.

    Also, kudos on the Field of Dreams quote. The Iowan in me appreciates the reference. (Though, I have to admit--I've lived in Iowa all my life and only recently actually saw the Field of Dreams site!)

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    1. I like the whole mysterious bit with Shoeless Joe and then his dad. I think we all have our Field of Dreams...

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  4. What a beautiful post! So funny, but I was just thinking yesterday how I'm a reader first. Before I wrote anything, I was reading, reading, reading (Babysitter's Club anyone? lol)
    I LOVE this post. Great way to say it, Wendy, as usual. :-)

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    1. Thanks Jessica. It all began with Frog and Toad for me. Then later A Wrinle in Time...then it got all mangled together in one big pile in my brain.

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  5. If you build it, they will come- LOVE IT!

    I have a huge library in my head. Even as a kid I loved to make up stories from various pieces of songs or books.

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    1. Bono sings, "Every poet is a thief." I think we all snatch bits and pieces and create our own stories. Make sense?

      But I can be freakish about being original even when I know I've been absorbing since childhood.

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  6. If my brain were a book shelf, it would be one of those over-stuffed, under organized kinds! I think it's funny when I'm deeply entrenched in the story I'm writing and all of a sudden my mind is walking off, hand in hand, with another character, in another story, in a different time period...

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    1. They really all could grab hands and start singing, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" like that commercial from the 80s...those characters--all connected in the noggin.

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  7. I don't collect anything physical, either. I used to be a great collector in my younger days -- figurines and dolls and other junk. :) I love the idea of collecting stories. I like the collections that don't add to the clutter of my house! :D

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    1. I agree about the non-cluttering kind. My kids are funny what they'll bring into our home.

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  8. I used to collect napkins as a child. I picked one up from every baby shower, wedding, anniversary celebration, birthday party, etc. I don't collect a lot of things now, but my mother gives me a little Easter figurine every spring. I like that growing collection quite a bit, because I know that each piece was selected just for us .

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    1. Ha, love it...napkins. Makes sense though. My youngest has gotten into a habit of collecting paper towels. Yep. I'm so proud.

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  9. Wendy,

    I think this very reason - collecting stories/thoughts/special moments - is why I finally began to love blogging. My blog has become a tangible library of some of the wonderful "little tales" God has whispered to me, either through His Word, through the lives of other people, or through books and movies I enjoy. Wonderful post.

    I collect blue glass stuff now, but I used to collect napkins, too, like Jennifer! I grew up on the mission field and party napkins of any kind were quite a treat and had to be special ordered, shipped, etc. I still have my scrapbook of napkins. Yikes.

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    1. I also like the idea of collecting blue glass. My husband's aunt does this. I keep my eye out.

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  10. Sometimes it becomes so clear how much I've carried certain stories with me--how strongly I've let certain characters in.

    And yep, I could easily become a book collector.
    ~ Wendy

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  11. I also have a modest collection of Willow Tree figurines. Wisdom (a girl reading a book) sits next to my desk lamp. :)

    Reading came first with me as well. It's where I fell in love with words and stories.

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  12. This is a great idea. I love reading words on a page so I guess, reading is where I fell in love with writing. I don't know for sure but it's one of the many factors that I got me to love writing.

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