Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
These are my family stories. These are the stories we retell when my cousins and I get together for reunions, and we add our own stories to Grandpa’s stories. These are the stories of who we are, and how our family helped to build something good in this country.
I am old enough to remember Grandpa’s stories. I also remember some of the stories Mom read to us as children. I remember Mrs. Colegate used to read Uncle Wiggley stories to us when she babysat.
Something happened to stories as I grew older. Family stories and sitting around in the evening listening to Mom read gave way to the TV and I Love Lucy. Actually, I did love Lucy and the silly situations she made for herself. But, with TV, our stories no longer became our stories, but the entertainment industry’s stories and media corporation stories.
I love stories, and I’ve been a passionate reader for years, starting with the time I missed a spelling test in the second grade, because I was busy reading one of the “little house” books. I’ve read thousands of books over the years. When I finished the complete works of Jane Austen and Kipling, I moved forward in time through centuries and through the twenties, thirties to the nineties. Someplace in the early two thousands, I noticed that all the books I read sounded the same. A murder mystery must have the same plot as the last murder mystery. One romance reads about like another and certainly like the last one by the same author.
I thought about my problems with the books I read and why with a few exceptions, I don’t like TV. I came to the realization that I wasn’t reading or watching real stories. These were corporate stories--stories chosen to sell rather than to innovate.
What difference do stories make? Aren’t they just imagination to pass the time and prevent boredom? Absolutely not! Stories are our way of manipulating reality so we can look at the world from a different perspective. Historical stories keep us in touch with our past, so we can make better choices for our future. Stories are essential to good decision-making. I would go so far as to say that when the power elite controls our stories, they control us.
Look back at paragraph one. I mentioned that Grandpa worked for a fully electric railroad. The Milwaukie Road was a non-polluting electric train. It generated electricity for the line when the trains went downhill. In some areas, the electricity was generated at hydroelectric plants. http://www.scn.org/cedar_butte/milw-elec.html
The notion of a fully electric railroad system is intriguing for today’s consciousness of carbon pollution, and oil reserves. What a magnificent way to haul goods and people! I learned about the trains from Grandpa’s stories. How much wealth of information is lost to what is corporately marketable?
As for the stories I write, they are based on my education and career as a social psychologist. They often sound prophetic, simply because social systems work in predictable patterns. Now, someone can learn this by reading Sociology books. I still have some of mine to use as sleep aides--better and faster than drugs for putting me to sleep. I hope to add a little spice to my stories set in authentic social systems. I’m not certain the large corporate press would be interested in publishing something that condemns oligarchies and gives valid historical and sociological reasons for that condemnation.
Because my work is somewhat anti-establishment or at least anti-what-we-are-led-to-believe-is-establishment, I wouldn’t find much interest for my work among the big-six corporate establishment publishers. I’m thankful to have found a small publisher who is not shy about anti-establishment work and even writes his own.
I also actively urge others to write your stories. This is one of my reasons for attending our Saturday Market on Vashon. I love to talk to other potential authors and encourage them to write--even if nobody other than their children and grandchildren read those stories.
I encourage you to write your stories. Write them. They are your family stories and like Grandpa’s stories may pass on important history to the next generation. So folks, to paraphrase the old Carpenters’ song,
“Write, a write a story,
Make it simple to last a whole life long
for anyone else to read,