Memory and Storytelling

By: James F. O’Neil

Memoirs are special stories: narratives with significance for the teller.  Sometimes memoirs are written by old people, sometimes not.  For a memoir could be in the form of a lecture, like that by a professor with pancreatic cancer: Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture, a moving memoir about life and living and love and family.  Good stuff for storytelling

I want to share stories–about life and living and love and family.

Somewhere, somehow, I had a chance to write a story, “Once upon a time…”  I cannot OnceUponATime-Final-960x960remember that story, but I have others to write and many that I have already written–probably enough to last a lifetime, however long that might be.

I have a difficult time trying to organize.  I become frazzled and frustrated, not knowing how to begin or where to begin.  Yet I know enough to begin at that “once-upon-a-time” time.

For now, though, I begin with this:

“A large part of our self-concept consists of the narrative by means of which we remember and relate our past experiences,” wrote Sam Keen in To a Dancing God.

And this:

“TELL ME A FACT: I’LL LEARN.
TELL ME A TRUTH: I’LL BELIEVE.
BUT TELL ME A STORY: IT WILL LIVE IN MY HEART–FOREVER.”

This is an Indian proverb from a wonderful “stories-told” book, The Right Words at the Right Time by Marlo Thomas and Friends

And this also:

“What is the self?  It is the sum of everything we remember.”  I found this gem somewhere, from the author Milan Kundera.

Remembering is special.  It sometimes keeps me going.  But telling about the remembered?  The more I tell, the more I am.  And this is pleasing to me.  And how I do like those “once-upon-a-time” times.

© James F. O’Neil  2013

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