I’ve had a lot of crazy things happen to me in my thirty years — recovering long-lost fathers, discovering long-lost twin brothers, meeting buckets of family members I could never have imagined existed, growing up under circumstances that were trying and unique — and I think about them a lot. I write about them a lot. There are many incredible stories to tell and remember.
But when I write or think “about them,” it sets the “them” apart from “me.” Sure, life is happening to me. But I am happening to life. As amazing and bewildering as all of these new family members are to me, I may be similarly bewildering and amazing to them. It’s somewhat humbling to realize that.
In my line of work, I fancy myself a storyteller. Whether the medium is a news article, a photo gallery or even web copy, I am trying to tell a story, be it magical or mundane. But it’s important to remember that somewhere, someone is telling a story about you. You are someone else’s story. In fact, there is no “my story” and “your story.” We are all happening to each other. There is just one story.
So, with that in mind, the importance of story in my life is that it is a framework for understanding not only the world around me and the things that happen to me, but myself and the things that I do. It places myself in a larger context, and it reminds me that the story is mine in part to tell, to read, to shape, to inform. And that’s a big responsibility, as well as a tremendous thrill.