2-1-13 The Story and The Scene, an Introduction

dulcimer on wagon at night

I am a storyteller, "a teller of tales", and one thing I know as storyteller, and a songwriter, is that a normal mistake is to try to say too much in one story or one song. It is a natural desire, because there are so many things we want to say, so many feelings wanting release. Life is not naturally divided up into simple, uncomplicated and unconnected pieces, but is a tapestry woven of many threads, some obvious and bold, some muted and subtle, some appearing often, others appearing seldom, yet always there in the fabric, just beneath the surface.

As a journalist, I need to tell the whole story, even if I try to refine it down to the significant threads that tell the simple story, I still have to tell the whole story, the big picture. I want to tell a continuing story, and keep up the sense and flow of the life of a folksinger, yet the story is too complex and deep to tell just by keeping up with what happens, day by day, without trying to explain what is going on beneath the surface, in my heart and mind. Somehow I have to focus on specific facets of the life, see the life through them. I can try to explain things, though the truth is, I don't always understand what is going on, and often enough, I don't try to understand. I can just try to tell the story, not decide what is significant or not, what is meaningful, what is important, not try to explain if I can't. But there is an opportunity in scenes where a thread stands out clearly for a moment, subtle or obvious, major or minor, common or rare. I can't tell the whole story in any one entry. I have to remember that this journal is a long-term ongoing process. The whole story, if I can even tell it, is going to be the sum of all the entries, a book with many pages and chapters.

Brian the Folksinger business card on the dulcimer in the snowSometimes, there is a scene that is somehow significant, or sometimes it just sticks in my mind and haunts me, stirring up things below the surface. It doesn't have to be significant, realistically. Not everything that happens is, but it is still part of the whole story. Things happen that are perhaps insignificant practically, but they linger in my mind, and are significant in how they touch something deep. My thoughts and feelings start revolving around it, or it starts them down long path to deep places where they wake old fires, old storms that flash and thunder at the foundations of my being, or create a subtle troubling that I cannot still. My soul is not a still and quiet place. Often enough, a small, truly insignificant experience will end up starting a cascade of thoughts and feelings, a leaf falls and I end up pondering life, death, and how life lives by dying. "Philosophy is what poor people invented to replace money."

"As I often say", "as I tell people", is something I say a lot, on the street, and in this journal, and I am doing it more, right now, because that is one of the things I want to say, that I'll try to dispense with the repetitive "as I often say" and just put the lines in quotes, when I use one that is one.

I gather great lines and stories like treasures, and use them often. From a great joke to profound truths, and a simple truth is that the greatest jokes are often based profound truths. Sometimes I distill out phrases that are simple and true from a story, sometimes I capture a gem that springs from the moment, as I'm talking to people. Sometimes they are distilled not from my own words, but from the People themselves. Whether I find a simple truth being told many different ways by many different people, or capture a bit of wisdom from a passing stranger.

"Even a fool can say something wise, a wise person is just someone who recognizes wisdom when they hear it, and of course, even a wise man can say something foolish."

There's also words and lines that only have meaning to me, that represent something in my life, from the name of a place or time, an experience, that represents something in my life, whether it is a contining thread or a significant event. Sometimes a phrase or word that stands for some essential force or personal truth, or the term I use to represent some facet of my personal philosophy.

All My World's a Stage cup on the dulcimer after new yearsAs I talk with so many people, tell the stories, they get refined in the telling, as I tell them over and over, for days or years. Like any good storyteller, I refine experiences into simple stories I can tell quickly, sifting and sorting out the significance and meaning, what needs to stay, and what can be left out, and still tell a simple but true story, a parable.

I'm a writer and a reader, and I love books, poetry, plays, and songs. They hold so much truth and wisdom, with such beauty, passed down through the years, through the ages. So I'll quote great lines from them, when they answer to the moment.
"All The World's A Stage."

So I'm posting two entries after this introduction. One is the simple story of a month in the life, the big picture and the main threads. The second is about a single scene that stayed with me, one from the street, and the thoughts and feelings that rose from it. One is the simple story of events, and the tide of thoughts and feelings that dominate this time. The other story I want to tell is continuing in a way from the last entry, with a story of the street, a scene from the street. And all the thoughts and feelings that can flow from one scene, the many facets that flash within it, as it somehow sticks in my mind and lingers, surfacing again and again in the days that follow. There are still so many facets in even the simplest scene, and the simplest story sometimes ends up being pretty long.

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