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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Write with Impact Definition: Memory

Mythic Impact

Last week I asked, Why do we read the same book over and over? Or watch a movie countless times? And then suggested, Because something in that particular story at that particular season of our life spoke directly into our hearts.

Whenever we participate in a family event, or tradition, we carry into the experience all our memories of before. Our personal echoes, whether positive or negative, are attached to us, and are necessary for our present reality just as Peter Pan’s shadow must be re-attached to complete him. Like a parable there is a surface story and also an undercurrent story that produces an emotional resonance within us every time we remember. These stories help define our desire to continue our family heritage or choose to break away from harmful patterns of behavior.

Family memories are a significant bridge across cultures and generations. Birth, death, education, weddings, parties, and relatives are all common ground even when the actual reality differs widely. Taping into memories that every one can identify with adds impact to our writing. We will either bond from similar feelings or empathize with more compassion the ones that we never imagined.

In the young adult novel Keeper of the Isis Light, by Monica Hughes, the reader immediately is pulled into Olwen’s life as she celebrates her 16th birthday, which counts as her tenth on the planet Isis, and at the same time is stricken by the circumstances that she has spent the last ten years as an orphan growing up in solitude with only someone she calls Guardian. Empathy and curiosity pull us into her story even though it is set on a far off planet. She is real—her emotions are real—her solitude is real. And that impact carries us all the way to the surprising twist at the end of how in fact she survived. Her birthday—a common ground memory—lays the foundation.

Reading scripture stories gives us a language for our faith journey. And builds in memories for when we might be faced with moral or faith commitments. The memories of how others coped in difficult situations can become path stones for our own choices as well as for our characters. We may not be called to cross a Red Sea, as did the Israelites, but the courage to take the bridge out of town and begin a new way of living can have a similar exodus journey.

Our past histories can leave markings on our souls as clear as lines on a paper map. Sometimes they’re so worn and smudged we don’t recognize their influence, positive or negative, until we come to that corner in the middle of choice. And that is how we want our readers to react when our characters are faced with life-changing decisions.

We squirm and bite our nails, hold our breath, warn them “no don’t” or “take a chance”, because we relate deep down in our own heart experiences. Using memories honestly helps us write with impact.

Share: When you were a child what family story did you want to hear over and over again? Or did not want to hear?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Write with Impact Definition: Inspiration

Mythic Impact

Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at a mythic definition as it applies to storytelling. Over the next few weeks we’ll examine the possibilities surrounding Impact as a definition and how it combines with mythic to deepen its effect.

Inspiration, Memory, Potential, Action, Courage, and Timeless bring mythic elements to life.

Fiction and non-fiction stories need inspiration that is timeless to take root in memories to bring about life-changing possibilities. Why do we read the same book over and over? Or watch a movie countless times? Because something in that particular story at that particular season of our life spoke directly into our hearts.

It may have been a moment of laughter, or an insight into new choices, or a hope that our decisions could bring about a new beginning. Or simply a recognition that it’s okay to cry and fail and be forgiven and loved. That good will overcome evil. And that some things in our lives are not under our control.  We see relationships build bridges. And that courage can cost everything. In any genre.

Christians around the world are celebrating the Easter stories this weekend. And the manner in which Easter is experienced varies widely throughout denominations and languages and personal family traditions.  Yet all are rooted in the same Biblical telling. I deliberately used the word stories because although we often refer to the Easter story it is made up of many parts ending with the Jesus’ unimaginable gift of grace.

We begin with Maundy Thursday which includes The Lord’s Supper, a footwashing, betrayal, Jesus’ comfort and teaching, including warnings, and words about the Holy Spirit, and branches, and relationships, and prayer. There is a tension-building novel in this one night that continues to ripple its applications for every disciple throughout time. Then the wrenching Good Friday, followed by a silent grief stricken Saturday with Resurrection Sunday followed by a meal many days later with the same disciples of the Maundy Thursday supper minus one.

We knew about this story long before we came to a relationship that enabled us to know this story personally. And we cherish this story no matter how many times it is told. Because despite all the tears in the telling we experience inspiration to pick up our lives with a fresh viewpoint.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:16-17 NAS

When our stories are spun or sprinkled or saturated with mythic characteristics they have the capacity to impact ourselves and our readers with inspirational promise that takes hold in our hearts. We can see life with a fresh perspective. Our steps are a little lighter when our words are grounded in truth—even the truth we can’t yet see.

Share: What part of the Easter story gives you inspiration for your life?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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