About This Blog

We are writers. We have embarked on a new phase in our lives: one where exploration, discovery, learning, adventure and
restoration are the key elements. We will be chronicling our experiences. (Subscribe to our blog at the bottom of the page.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shaping My Story

I was sitting down for coffee in the small cafe inside the local recreation centre when a guy approached and asked if he could sit in one of the other easy chairs scattered around the table. I nodded and he pointed at my cane and said 'I got a brace and the guy coming in the door now is worse off than either of us; he has an artificial leg.' The guy with the metal leg heard him, laughed and sat down at the table with us. I had no idea who either one of them was; they were old friends and the three of us settled quickly into a pattern of conversation that was both superficial and deeply revealing. We each were letting the other two know what we believed mattered most about our own personal story. We were, through emphasis and selective life editing, creating our personae anew.

In the New York Times this week there was an intriguing examination of what is called 'expressive writing'. 
               "The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.
                  Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioural changes and improve happiness."

We all do it; that's what the three of us were doing over coffee, orally mind you and the evidence collected so far is about the written word and the written word has a power that we will explore deeply in this blog. But when I read the article, after accidentally encountering the two guys at the cafe I found myself returning again and again to the idea of 'writing and rewriting' my personal story. It is something I have been preoccupied with these past couple of years and I can testify to the fact that it does change you, it does challenge you, it does reshape how you see yourself and your world. 

That's what integrating one's life experiences is possibly all about, a re-telling, or re-understanding perhaps of what the arc and narrative of life so far has been and what the arc and narrative not yet written might be. I learned a great deal about those two strangers in just a half hour through listening to the condensed version of their lives so far. I suspect they learned much about me, not the whole me by any stretch but perhaps hints of the me that I am now trying to put forward front and centre. How that image might morph over the years is not clear to me at all but writing it and re-writing it is going to be fascinating.

Human beings are story tellers, it maybe the thing that made us significantly different from the ape, though that might just be the story we tell and are sticking to. P.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read the morphing, shape-shifting, dreaming and good storytelling to come.