Yes: We Are the Storytellers
February 18, 2016 § 16 Comments
A guest post from Stacy Barton:
“In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
We are the storytellers, gathered around the fire, telling our tribes’ tales. We are the poets, searching sounds and song in language, seers of the heart. We are the earth’s children giving voice to the imagined, the unruly. For as long as we can remember we’ve made sense of life through Story, our writing born from the duality of beauty and pain. For us, the very nature of Story is sacred.
Give in to this; let it grow. Surrender your heart to the deep, to the unknown, to the fear, to the words that bubble up and burst forth of their own accord, speaking truth we are never quite ready to hear. Be surprised by the remarkable wings of creation, in awe of the voices, the pictures in your head; bless the muse that gifts you with her wonders, and learn to accept that she is you.
Write – as Rilke said – as if you must. Write, as if you must. Some days, the words will rush through like Spirit, like overflowing water, beautiful and strong, and other days the words will hide in the dust without a whisper. Seasons will open and close like the stories you long for and life will paint into your days the living and dying you need to stack words like stones beside the river of Story.
And when you feel small, when you seem to offer nothing more than a trickle to the great river of words, when you are overlooked and forgotten by position or wealth or acclaim…write. Write. Write because you must. Because without writing, the leaves are just leaves and the sky is just sky, and music doesn’t float on the wind.
You are a storyteller, your belly filled with the ripe berries of words. Words to lean into, pour out, offer up, words you must write with fearless abandon, without shame. This is your sweetness, your sacrifice, your sacred calling and the answer to Rilke’s question.
Stacy Barton is the author of the novella Lily Harp, the poetry chapbook Like Summer Grass, and the short story collection Surviving Nashville. Her work has appeared in literary journals including Gargoyle, Potomac Review, Real South, Ruminate, Relief and Southern Women’s Review. Stacy is also the author of four picture books, two plays, and three animated short films; she works as a freelance show writer for entertainment production companies such as Disney, SeaWorld, Ringling Bros. and others. You can find her online at www.StacyBarton.com