December 2006

Realizing Story in Everyday Life

Don lives in a small, remote town in hill country where life is simple and change is difficult. I love going to Don’s place because of the quiet and my feeling of stepping back in time. This weekend was no exception.

Saturday was alive with a Christmas party at a historic two-story house on the state park replicated to the early 1900’s. In the parlor sat a beautiful decorated Christmas tree with presents beneath, Santa sat in a chair next to the fireplace and musicians, complete with guitar, base, mandolin and piano, led young and old alike in carols. Children sat on Santa’s lap and leaned close to his ear and whispered their wishes. People from all walks of life, who might not normally cross paths during everyday life, came together to share in the joy of Christmas.

During a pause in music, one of the musicians said, “You know, this is exactly what people used to do years ago, sit around and sing. They didn’t have electricity, just some oil lanterns and everybody else.” As I pondered his words, I realized what a great story this would make, about a poor family whose only gifts were each other and the sounds of their voices in music. This story has been lived and written many times over the generations, but it becomes fresh with each new writer’s voice and perception. What would be different for my characters around Christmas, or would Christmas be just the same as any time of the year? Would it matter? What all of the gift shared be handmade? The questions come until I have taken an old story and made it new again.

Each day of my life is a new experience waiting for the realization of a new story. Now, all I need to do is sit down and write.

© 2006 By Susan Littlefield

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