A good story begins with things that haven't happened to me. Life events, natural disasters. Tent poles on which to hang the canvas of a life. Like Scarlet in Gone With The Wind, with the sweeping backdrop of the Civil War and its terrible aftermath. Or the farmer in The Good Earth, struggling without hope against odds he cannot perceive. Or the Okies in The Grapes Of Wrath, scrambling to escape the collapse of nature and find a home. Or even Jonathan Livingston Seagull, pushing the limits of his potential.
That's not me. I was a child during Vietnam, and the terrorism of today is remote from my home. Even looking for work as I am, I live in a nice place to live, and have a constant (too constant, judging by weight) supply of food. Natural disasters are few and far between- no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no evacuations. As for my limits, the physical ones I'm too old to change, and the mental ones are far too ingrained to do anything about.
I'm not even a good bit player in someone else's epic. I'm not a soldier, taking that final bullet and crumpling to the ground as the scene shifts. I'm not the aide to some important politician at the time of crisis, nor the person who comes running to the investigator at the last minute with that crucial piece of information. I'm not even the friend of the fading movie star who wonders what went wrong as her roles disappear with the dregs of her youth. My proudest moment was helping out my sister's softball team when they needed warm bodies and were happy with a hung-over catcher whose mightiest blow was a slow roller to third that he beat out. Or perhaps when the governor waved at me as a schoolboy, or sitting two tables down from the lady on the local TV news.
But I am a story. A perpetually repeating tale of niche interests, mundane tasks, and sometimes funny lines. I occasionally shake my fist at injustice (tilting at windmills, if you will), I am a warrior on Facebook, a hero of bedtime stories, a chef whose cuisine consists of variations on hamburger and pizza, chief executive officer of a three-person fantasy football league, an expert on topics I have a general knowledge of, and the author of a music story beat painstakingly from the bushes of the internet.
Am I a story worth reading? I have done this blog for two-and-a-half-years and have 53 followers, about 20% of which are either no longer around, advertisers hoping to get a click, or people who only followed that I might follow them and raise their stats. You tell me. Am I a story worth telling- now THAT is the question. Because the importance of a story is not in the reading, but in the telling. The story is the heart and soul of the storyteller and the reader/listener gleans what they will. But I am a story. And whether you believe in a creator God or laughing chance, at some point 50 years ago SOMEBODY thought I was a story worth telling. You are welcome to glean from it what you will.
This has been a story for a writing contest at Suess's Pieces. The prompt was, "A good story begins with...". This is the second attempt at this, since I somehow erased the excellent first draft and had to pull the story kicking and screaming from my early-morning memory. Which pretty much goes along with the rest of the story, I'd say.