Is Your Life A Good Story Or A Tale Of Woe?
I’ve lived a fair share of a hard life. I did my share of killing in Vietnam, and have seen too many people die in and out of conflicts. There have been occasions where I lied, cheated and stole. I could say it was to live, but that would be another lie. I did those things because I could, and believed it would make a difference. It did, but not what I thought.
There was never a time when I believed I was smart, because all the messages to me were that I was a no good s.o.b. and would never amount to anything. Everything was an effort to prove it wasn’t true. For many years I set out unconsciously on a path destined to fulfill that prophecy. I nearly succeeded.
There have been a few surprises in life, such as the discovery that I was smart, more so than I imagined. Still, it never really took hold because the more negative messages usually shouted it down. I held on to the idea that somehow I would survive from youth, and that was the sole effort of my existence. Some of that still carries over to today.
The turning point for me came in Ecuador. It was here that discovery of what God really meant in my life came full face. From that point on life has been different, yet far from perfect. Still I have always claimed that in Ecuador, I began to live life for the first time.
This by no means is a memoir, or even a small portion of what my life is about. As a writer, there may come a time when I am ready to write all those chapters of my life, but it doesn’t feel like that’s going to be anytime soon.
Recently while taking part in what i will call a “writers clinic,” some encouragement was offered to another in terms of what to write. The comment was made that there are so many incidents in life that there should be no end of themes to write on. Themes are also known as “prompts.”
The definition of a writers prompt by dailywritingtips is “simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write.” With that thought in mind I made the comment on this writers page, “life is a prompt.” And so it is.
Whether it deals with being the only senior in my class with enough gumption to scale the water tower in our small town. Painting our class numbers on it as was the tradition for many years, yet none had dared and school was near an end.
Accepting a stupid dare during one Halloween foray, by one of the least daring of our school, to pour black Testors Model Car paint on a brand new Ford, or holding a live bullet over a candle to see what would happen. That ended with a piece of shrapnel from the casing in my little finger.
Car wrecks, speeding tickets, suspended drivers license, being arrested for a malicious misdemeanor, are just the tip of the iceberg. All are fantastic prompts for some good stories, and you can bet several have been written.
Forest Gump said it. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. While Whitman’s Samplers may have a variety of flavors and fillings, it can’t hold a candle to the varieties life offers.
My life could have been a tale of woe. I choose to believe it was never intended to be. All the incidents that have been part and parcel of this adventure are just that. Events that lead to the next chapter with little clue of what lies ahead.
How absolutely boring it would be to know what each minute of every day would bring forth. Many strive for that, determined to control each and every moment. Some seem to succeed, at the cost of truly missing out on life. Because while they feel in control, many of the chances to live life to the fullest are shoved away, because it seems to be attached to a risk of the unknown.
There are moments in my life that I would never want to repeat, but in truth the experiences have been priceless. To survive death in the space of an instant, while delivering a fatal blow to an enemy. Living life normally afterwards without being besieged by guilt or constant images of the event. Wondering all the “what if’s?” I don’t have to, because I know why and how it happened.
Broken toe, fractured wrist, concussion, malaria, hepatitis, infectious disease, and so much more. All prompts for writing. Were I a little more daring there are many incidents such as disappearing donut boxes on my paper route deliveries, or midnight rides on my bike to see my girlfriend 10 miles away!
Music is a huge source of inspiration for me. It is being used to do creative spontaneous writing of poetry put to musical backgrounds. it’s by no means new, but it is for me. See one at the end of this post.
Any of those topics pique your interest? There’s a least one that does and that is the point. For aspiring writers this is a great example of where to find themes to write about. Your life, and every life is a prompt. If not yours then anothers.
So if the question ever comes up as to your life being a good story or a tale of woe, either way it’s a story.