Someone quite wise said to me today that there are people who are authors and people who are storytellers.
Authors write – and they may/may not care what the audience thinks. There is a story and it must get out, must burn across the pages, must be pulled out in gooey globs from their minds. It is a drive, like needing food or sleep or air.
Storytellers tell stories (bear with me here) – they have an idea, and they want to flesh the idea out to see where it goes, yes. But more, they want to know that it had a visceral effect on the person(s) listening or reading said idea.
And of course, these two types of folk are not mutually exclusive. There are storytellers who are authors, and vice versa. (An author who bleeds a story out and is so excited to share it with other people; a storyteller whose idea is so fantastical that they sit for hours, days, years putting it together because when they finally finish and tell it, it will be *so* glorious.)
I tend to think I fall into the latter camp – the storyteller. It’s why I excitedly share bits that I’ve written *thus far* with trusted beloveds. It’s why when the words dry up, it hurts in deep places. (Again, not saying that authors don’t feel this sort of thing.) Part of my psyche is a desire to entertain, to frighten, to make you *feel* when you read or hear something I’ve put together.
I truly believe that words, that language is a kind of magic. I make noises and people understand and have an emotional response to them? I scribble scratches onto paper (or tippy-tap on some little buttons and said scratches appear on a glowing screen, ) and the same thing could happen. It’s a learned skill, an agreement between folks that these noises and scratches mean something.
That we agree that ‘blue’ could be the color of your draperies, the sky, and an egg – or that it could be a complex set of emotions. Or a simple one, and it all depends on the context – the addition of other noises/scratches.
Fucking indescribable how amazing that is to me.
And I seem to have a gift(*) at it. I tell stories, I write tales, I run games that I’ve cobbled together and people enjoy them. They giggle, they fume, they weep; and they come back for more.
It is not a validation of myself as a person. It is an acknowledgment of the work(s) that I have done. The works that I hope to continue to do.
So, when the words dry up and I find myself staring at a blinking cursor, even when I have ideas circling my brain like hungry sharks, the dismay is also indescribable.
I know the words will come back. They always do. This is a bump in the road, not the Abyss leading to the Plains of Leng, for chrissakes.
If you’ve made it this far, just know that I tend to write out my thoughts as a way to process things. I have done this in various forms for years. It isn’t necessarily a plea for help. Just a way for me to shake the snowglobe of my brain and see what settles. And what floats.
Because (you knew this was coming, yes?) We all float down here, Georgie.
Much love you rapscallions. I adore you twisted little fuckers.
* – my anxiety wants to quantify this as “a bit of a gift”. Fuck that, Traitor Brain. I have had too much feedback over the years that says otherwise.