A new writers group is starting in St. Cloud. Today is our second meeting. I plan to share an essay written by poet, Jimmy Baca, “Two Stories About Stories”. It is part of an anthology I picked up at a conference I attended last summer, Survive and Thrive. I am sharing it here because it is a perfect inspiration for writers.
Baca begins by telling a story of a man of great wealth who had a dinner for his friends. “I sat at the far end of the table with the rich guy sitting at the head of the table. I started in telling stories to the women and men around me and we were engrossed until sometime later we heard a voice rise above the table chatter with Bullshit! Bullshit! The guests were stunned. The voice was that of the host demanding to be recognized. “He needed to justify the choices he made…I realized as sprawling and grand as this Alice in Wonderland plantation was, it was equally commensurate to an impoverished character and emotional life, a shrunken spiritual life as drought and bleak as any desert.”
“Tell us a story”, Baca said to him. The man could not. Baca’s sad commentary on the situation: “Living a life with no stories mean(s) you (lack) an essential aspect of what it means to be human.”
His second story is about “a poor, tribal boy…his life brimming with stories” unlike the first character. Baca says. “I met him in a village in the mountains of Nicaragua, and he illustrates it all; that is, what is it not only to have stories but to be blessed with a poet’s heart by them? Be given a journey, be honored with valor and integrity, that is what paying attention to words and ceremonializing language can do-make our life a series of days imbued with ordinary ritual that elevates the mundane to glowing insights and centralizes our lives in landscapes of meaning.”