by Tim Myers
I’ve found that there are a great many similarities between reading a good story, and trying to write one.
When I’m telling the story, I see myself in a clearing in the middle of a great and dark forest at night, with no one else around except a single reader. We’re sitting on the ground across from each other with a mighty bonfire between us, and we can’t see each other through the wood and the flames. There is a chill at our backs, but our faces are warmed by the heat. Only the sound of my voice carries beyond the pops and hisses and crackling of the fire as the logs burn and settle in place. As glowing embers dance skyward through a narrow opening into the sky, they quietly fade away, as if they are being blown out by the very breath of my words. As the story unfolds, we are both swept into the tale, and the most important questions for any storyteller become more and more urgent as the story continues: what happens next, and how does it all end?
There are times it’s all I can do to keep myself from rushing to the end of a really great book. I fight, and lose, the battle every time to slow my pace as the story unfolds. I want to savor each moment and hold on to the world the author has created, just for me. I know that, too soon, the tale will be over, and that brings me joy, but it also brings a hint of sadness as well.
To be honest, I have to admit that I love sitting on both sides of that fire.