Stories that Matter



In the aftermath of the celebrations, all is quiet. Still. Things are tidied, relatively speaking, and I’m heading into the new year filled with anticipation. Yet, there is a restlessness within, something I can’t quite comprehend. Something perhaps I need to do, to say, to put aside. But my thoughts still scream loud.


I’m thinking about my writing. Thinking about what’s to come and how I’ll handle it.

Us creative types don’t have it easy, you know. We’re not analytical thinkers. Can’t prioritize and put things into neat little boxes ready to deal with one at a time, as suits. No. Our minds are a jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings and ideas and triflings, a kaleidoscope of happy madness. And sometimes that’s too much to bear. For me at least.

Because I feel so deeply, you see, and I’d rather not. It’d be so much easier if I could nod and say, oh how tragic, and just move on, move past that pain. But I take things on. I dwell on that awfulness, that sorrow I wish I could lift. That problem I so want to fix. That broken heart I’d give anything to see mended.

Not your problem… No. I don’t suppose it is. But I feel it just the same.


When I first began to write, I didn’t understand. It was fun. I was having the time of my life creating these little stories that nobody would ever read. It wasn’t something I imagined would become a career. And then one day, that dream appeared, and changed everything. Changed the way I viewed my writing. Changed my very outlook on life.

I see the connection now. The way I’m wired. To think and feel and hurt and rage and love…on a deeper level…is necessary, because how can I possibly hope to express that which I know nothing about? If I don’t feel…I can’t know. 

It’s more now. More than fun. More than just something to while away the hours. It’s a mission, if you will. Being trusted to tell the truth through story. Terrifying. Yet…not. Because it is here, in this space of silence where I can hear my heartbeat over the turbulence inside my mind, here is where the truth lies. Here is where I must listen. Here is where I must trust. Trust myself to know what comes next. Which story should be told. And how to tell it.


There are thousands of stories in the world. Why should mine matter so much? I’m not exactly sure. But for some reason, here I am. Called to this. And it’s a little daunting. See? Those deep thoughts take over again, make me smile because I know I won’t be rid of them. However much I think I’d like to be, I need them. I need to feel another’s pain as deeply as if it were my own so I can write it down. And when we know pain, we know hope. Eventually joy.

This cycle of feeling…sure it can drive us mad, if we let it, but this…this is the stuff of life. The tears and heartache and melancholy and then a sudden burst of sun through dark rain clouds.

A hand slipping into yours, unexpected, yet a perfect fit.

The first time you made eye contact with that one who seemed to see right into your soul.

Those tears you cried late into the night when you knew nobody could hear.

That anger unleashed over something you never thought would happen. Not to you.

The numbness brought on by grief, standing graveside, saying goodbye.

A smile that says more than any words could.

Laughter that bubbles up, unbidden yet determined to take over till it rocks you, unstoppable, and the tears roll and you feel washed clean again.


Crazy, isn’t it? The challenges, the miracles, the mystery…I wouldn’t change the way I feel about things now. No. Instead, I choose to embrace it, the tumultuous blend of thoughts and feelings and experiences that shape us. All of it. It is all for me. To learn and grow and love…maybe a little more than I want to.

This new year…this new beginning…it’s ripe with promise.

And perhaps what we need most will come when we least expect it.




  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on December 29, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Wow, what a powerful evocation of what goes on inside a writer’s heart!

    It doesn’t work quite this way for me; in my earlier life I had to learn to compartmentalize lest the tragedy would overwhelm me. There are some things that, seen too often, will drive the hardest man mad with grief.

    This may be have a crippling effect on my writing; I don’t know, and perhaps that is for others to judge.Those who have read and responded to “Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart” (the novel, not the blog) have said that the story touched their hearts, so maybe I’m on the right track. I hope so!

    Hope your Christmas was great, and that 2015 is all you desire, and more!

  2. Cathy West on December 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Life’s experiences shape us, and if we can write them down, all the better. Wishing you and yours the same for 2015 – you are still here to inspire! 🙂

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