Story-telling Self-talk, or Overcoming the Nothings

I cannot determine whether I read too much or if I do not write enough.

There is a story in my mind. There are stories in my mind. Reality, whatever that is, either works to build up or tear down these stories. Or, may it be more clear if I say that I am not a practiced story-teller, or a not-practiced-enough story-teller. I am a practiced story-hearer, story-reader, story-watcher, story-historian and story-cataloger, but I am no real story-teller. There is this story in my mind. Everyday, many times a day, and “this story” is not the same story, I mean sometimes it varies or deals with the same people or the same place or the same events or conflicts or sometimes it’s just a title and sometimes I say it out when I walk and sometimes I tell it in my head and I have been doing this for years, decades even, my earliest memories being when it was my turn to take the dog out back to poop in the yard. I would turn my fears into these heroic tales, like where it was too dark for the flood light to reach out in the yard, where the apple trees sat, and there was a pack of wild wolf-beasts (re: the Nothing from the 1984 Wolfgang Petersen film The Never-ending Story) all of whom were determined to devour me, my family, and my little dog, too! (a Carin Terrier re: Toto from the Wizard of Oz). That’s where imagination would turn that scene around. Just before those snarling, carnivorous, teeth-gnashing monsters initiated their attack, Snickers (the little dog)’s leash would snap and he would take off to the left after the scent of a rabbit while I bolted to the petty cover of the lilac bushes and tried to climb out of fang-reach. Just after they began their assault on my position, putting them about halfway between the apple trees and myself, Snick would start yipping from down past the trees, throwing their plan and making them immediately shift direction back to where they had been waiting at which point I would craft a sling-shot out of the crook of a limb a big-old rubber band I had in my pocket and I would lob a stone into the orchard that would hit the juiciest apple in there, causing a chain reaction that covered those would-be murderous wolf terrors and ensuring they would not be coming after any innocent Pennsylvanian families ever again.*

It didn’t take long before I understood that those noises I always heard from the apple trees were windfalls landing hard on the ground or on the underside of the aluminum boat my dad kept down there. Snickers would start barking at any noise down there, pinching my nerves in a way that a threat was waiting down there. I couldn’t control his anxious yipping, but I knew my escape plan if a pack of Nothings or bandits or Velociraptors attacked, thanks to my stories.

Adult me has stories, but they remain locked in place and surrounded by my ears, neck, and face. They do not escape past my tongue or teeth nor do they venture down my arm to my hand and manifest itself onto ink on a page. I am inclined and inspired, however, to begin setting them free.

* I should note that my backyard fantasies were not always inspired by fear. I often wondered if anyone would notice the difference if I myself pooped in the yard while taking the dog out. Would anyone notice the difference? Would they blame it on the neighbor’s much larger Labrador? What kind of hilarity would ensue?


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