The Good Company of Story

Grandpa, the Storyteller by Victor Issa

There’s a lovely sculpture by Victor Issa in the Frederic Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It’s called “Grandpa, the Storyteller” and it captures for me the essence of story:  Story connects, it communicates across time and generations.  As the novelist Graham Smith put it, “As long as there’s a story, it’s all right.”

For me, a story is also company.  There is nothing lonelier for me than that space between stories when I’ve finished one but am not yet fully committed to a new one.

Ah, but when the idea for a story sticks and I know I’m going to run with it, it becomes my closest companion and I’m not alone anymore.  It’s there with me when I’m waiting in line at the post office or in my car.  It talks to me and deepens as I spend time with it and, like any companion, it sometimes annoys me.  As its chaotic bits become clearer and more organized in my mind, the rest of my life seems to come into order as well.

Whether it’s being read or written, there’s nothing like the company of story.