Why Am I A Writer? Because Everything Has A Story

Do you ever wonder about the couples
aboard the Ferris Wheel, and what part of
their story they are in?

An orator tried to gain the attention of a restless audience who was doing everything except listen.  Finally he said, “Once upon a time, a rabbit, a dog and a cat traveled together…”  The audience suddenly fell into rapt silence.  There are different versions of the folktale.  Some have the orator scolding the audience for focusing on trivia, but the wiser versions simply recognize the power of story.

Stories echo through our lives.  They hold truth and wisdom.  They capture us whether in print, song, or oral telling.  In the collection of Arabian folktales, One Thousand and One Nights, Scheherazade saves her life by telling stories the king can’t resist hearing.

Is that sock monkey on the right
trying to tell something to the other one?
Maybe they come alive at night
when the rest of the carnival is asleep.  

I’ve always been a voracious reader, but as a young kid I was a hundred percent in love with fiction.  Studying textbooks for school was fine, but I spent my free time with tales of shipwrecks, animals, and other adventures.  I particularly liked the older novels, maybe because they were more readily available at the local under-funded library.  

Does anyone else remember the Bobbsey twins, the boxcar children, Misty of Chincoteague Island, or the Donna Parker stories?  When I wasn’t reading “kid’s” books, I consumed tales such as Les Miserables and the Andre Norton sci fi adventures.  Andre Norton, in case you've never discovered her, was actually Andre Alice Norton, born Alice Mary Norton.

Things are a little different now.  I vividly remember the first non-fiction book that I devoured in fascination, a George Washington Carver biography.  Of course, biographies are often told as non-fiction stories, but I was still hooked.  It no longer needed to be fiction, I wanted to read EVERYTHING.

Today I split my love of reading between fiction and non-fiction topics such as history, science, exploration, etc.  I can’t do it all (becoming an astronaut has definitely passed me by), but I can live some of it through the eyes of others.  Getting lost in a book is wonderful, but since I’m also a multi-tasker, non-fiction television programs and audio books are highly appreciated.  And when non-fiction has a story narrative, it resonates at a higher frequency.

Odd subject?  Perhaps.
But I look at these figurines
collected by my parents
 and the growls and struggles of prehistoric animals
fighting for survival echo in my mind.
They are part of a very long story. 
Once in a while I challenge myself with something totally different from subjects I’ve explored in the past.  For example, I’ll decide to learn about mountain climbing or a new area of history, biography or science.  There’s nothing like pushing my brain to venture into uncharted territory.  The danger, of course, is that I often develop a whole new passion, which gets time-consuming and can be expensive—the Amazon “add to cart” button is dangerous!

So I have to be cautious. The Elegant Universe (Brian Greene) tempted me into buying a stack of PBS/NOVA DVD programs about Albert Einstein, the Big Bang theory and physics.  Ghosts of Everest (Simonson, Hemmleb and Johnson) took me to the Himalayas, Edmund Hillary and Nepal.  Learning more about Victoria and Albert of England led me to the Edwardian age, WWI, and Winston Churchill.  Then, on to…well, you see the problem.

"Collectible" music box/face powder container.
How many women powdered their faces using this box?
What were they going through?
They probably weren't that different than me.
I would LOVE to know the story behind this
 particular Christmas yard art!
Doesn't this baby seal
look amused?
Stories are everywhere.  As an amateur photographer, pictures also grab me, because there has to be a story there.  I think…what is going on, maybe behind the camera?  What are the people going through?  Are they falling in love?  Going through personal storms?  Are they coming or going from a place?  Are those animals getting ready to fight, or are they secretly laughing at us humans?  How many people have held that antique bottle and what was their story?

Old bottles turned into yard art.
Where did they start, who held them, and
purpose did they serve?

 My sister says cats sleep so much,
they must have
a dynamic dream life.
So what is he dreaming about?
At other times, I dive into the world I’m creating through writing.  My characters and places are connected to the real world, but I can (sometimes) form them to my liking.  With the last book of my Emerald City series coming out in May (Finally, A Family), I look forward to doing something new, possibly in a small town on the coast of Oregon.  Creating a fictional town is fun, especially giving it a history and cast of characters just begging to become part of the tale.

Let’s see...Laurel Stevenson (a character introduced in Finally, A Family) avoids taking risks, so what is she doing traveling past the city limits sign of….

Happy February to everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and that the weather isn’t too beastly.  Personally, I have a bone to pick with that groundhog.  He must need glasses.




  1. I loved this post, Callie, about books, reading and most of all, the Importance of story in our lives. I was a teacher-librarian before retirement, and learned that storytelling could quiet any class and any student. Also loving the teaser for your upcoming release!

  2. Well, Callie, you must a fun person to wander the world with. I so agree that nonfiction of all kinds provides a host of stories of a special type and keeps leading us to the next thing, the next question, the next story. Good luck with your upcoming release.

    1. Thanks. I love the actual exploration and the form through reading. Curiosity is a wonderful thing!

  3. Well that teaser is just mean!!! It's a good thing I already have the book and can get started right away! I love the power of stories. When I want to get the attention of my kindergarten students, all I have to do is say "Once upon a time...." and they freeze.

    1. Oops! I guess I wasn't clear enough - if it's what you're talking about, the teaser about Laurel is for my upcoming proposal. But you can find her mentioned in the book to be released in May, Finally, A Family.

  4. What a great post, and you have some super pictures :) I was reminded of a game played at a party I attended years ago. The question was, if you were a member of an early man tribe or clan, what would your position be? People answered hunter or warrior or gatherer or healer. I didn't hesitate, I said story teller.

  5. Curiosity is a wonderful thing. I loved the Misty stories, and the Little House on the Prairie series because I learned so much about lives much different than mine. I still like stories that teach me new things. I'll bet you have some fascinating discussions.

    1. I still re-visit the Little House Books, though I view them now through increased awareness. Lately I've been looking for the same version of Swiss Family Robinson that I loved as a kid. No luck yet, but I'm not giving up-hey, a library sale is coming soon!

  6. A wonderful post! I'd forgotten all about Donna Parker.

    1. I just remembered Cherry Ames (sp?), too, although I think that's the one where they described a brother and sister as "identical twins."

  7. I love stories, too! They explain who we are, where we think we're going, how we think we ought to get there. They are so important to the human experience!

    1. In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney says, "That’s what storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again." I don't know if it's an actual Disney quote or something written for the movie, but I like it!

  8. I had a collection (7) of those face powder music boxes, but I sold them in 2007. I had collected them as a teen while antiquing with my parents.


    1. I have one that belonged to my great-aunt for a long time, and two more that I've gotten since. My great-aunt actually apologized when she gave it to my mom because it was "old." She preferred new, modern stuff, but Mom loved the piece and eventually gave it to me.


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