Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To write or to tell stories?

We are a writing kind of family. We are also story-tellers. It seems like there is an itch in us to impart information to a crowd--willing or unwilling listeners--about ourselves. My sister writes beautiful songs. So does her husband. My dad has written two books. I write this blog. We all tell great stories. I can be quite entertaining when I choose to be, although I probably write better stories than I tell.
So lately I've been toying with the idea of putting some of these stories together in an attempt to create something larger, like a book of short stories, or maybe one of those Erma Bombeck styled books you find in the self-help section that are full of funny hahas with a nugget of info at the end. My problem is, I'm not sure I can string the stories into something that makes sense and I have no nuggets of info at the end. I also wonder if people who don't know me would find my stories funny. Part of the reason these little "Marla Mail" sketches are so entertaining is that the people I am emailing know me very well.
Maybe I should just stick to what I do best. Writing a funny email about the kids latest and greatest and telling on myself. That way I don't have to worry about punctuation, sentence structure, starting sentences with conjunctions or using commas appropriately. My grammar is terrible. I really have to work on it. I write like I speak--in run on sentences full of dashes, commas, double modals, and too many words.
Or maybe I'll create a character called Marvin. Marvin can be about 10. He's been sent to live with his Aunt, who we'll call Evangelina along with his sister Maria who's 7. Evangelina is a fun-loving 30 something with a compost pile and a fainting goat in the backyard who lives in the middle of the city. Marvin and Maria have lost their parents to a freak snowboarding accident in Vail, CO. In the course of their new relationship with Evangelina they discover in true "Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe" fashion that she is rather "Lemony-snicket"ish. But their favorite part about her is that she tells great stories about her younger days with her sister (their sweet mother) Marguerite. While these stories will seem so "Laura Ingalls Wilder" to these technologically advanced children (they each have their own iPhone), there is a wholesomeness to the stories about a time gone by that fulfills some deep inner longing to connect with their mother and all things old-fashioned (i.e. pre-21st century). And with that I'll launch into a full disclosure about the crazy days of life, love and the pursuit of happiness that were my youth.
I'll see you on the first page of chapter one...


emily said...

How do you know about fainting goats?! I just learned about them.
As for writing...write because you love it (which you do) and write for yourself first. Watch and see where it takes you...maybe to a bookshelf near all of us!

amy said...

I am so glad I found your blog. I would love to read your book. I am about to spend some time reading your archives. Have a great night.