“You’re not frivolous Tom. Back in the caveman days our ancestors would huddle around the fire at night. Wolves would be howling in the dark, just beyond the light. And one person would start talking. And he would tell a story so we wouldn’t be so scared in the dark.”
This is from the movie ‘Genius’ (2016), a true story. Editor Max Perkins comforts his author Thomas Wolfe in a moment of doubt… assuring him that, as a storyteller, he is fulfilling a need in people older than time, something vital and irreplaceable.
I’ve always felt like this about stories as well, be they true or imagined. It’s why I am so passionate about both reading and writing. Stories help us find our way. They make life more bearable. They comfort us and let us know we’re not alone with our troubles, not alone in being lost at times.
Anyone else know this feeling: many times, in the middle of the night, I wake up able to remember complex dreams that feel like thrillers or epic tales of adventure. Then, during the one minute during which I surface from my dream universe, I think, “Wow, this is awesome. I need to make notes immediately!” Inevitably, my body refuses to cooperate and I drift back into the story I emerged from.
Sometimes, I even dream about ideas and about developing them.
Or I find myself in a half-awake-half-asleep daze with visions and creative ideas chasing each other… yet my exhausted mind isn’t able to focus on a single one.
Then the morning comes. I wake up, open my eyes, and vaguely remember creative sparks that seemed divine at the time. Yet no matter how hard I try to grasp a single one of those rays of magic, they are gone… resting safely in a land of their own…