Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Haunted by Stories

Been feeling oddly adrift lately. Some of it is post SDCC settling, some of it is anxiety about being freelance, and some of it is...I don't know. Feeling like I'm on the cusp of something important creatively, but being unable to attain it. I worry I won't, or it'll slip by and I won't notice until it's too late. This has led to the monthly melancholy of dwelling on existential dread.

As usually happens when I'm in this mood, I've watched a lot of really depressing movies. Mostly British ones, about epic and (at the very least) bittersweet love stories. It's a thing.

Fantasy and fiction is this odd creature. I don't really want to have a life like Jane Eyre, or live in a repressive time with corsets. And yet. There is an undeniable magnetism to stories set in such times. Some of it is the way we idealize it, although ironically the stories often don't. But the love stories are so intense, so fraught, so full of meaning and passion and grief. I suppose that, in their intensity, they capture the essence of a lot of what life is...just in a more condensed form, with all the extraneous bits left out. We live out our lives day to day, year by year (hopefully). But in fiction, it is distilled. It makes the mundane more. It is haunting. It is fantastical. It is breathless and sweeping and wondering.

When I read or watch stories of this kind, it taps into some deep well I have. I think it's where my love of stories come from...a place that connects to what I can only imagine other story lovers feel, in a way I don't with anything else. This place is full of joy and terror, grief and love, want and need...and then more than that. It's an actual feeling in my chest sometimes...hot and cold at the same time. Sometimes I think it will consume me with its indefinable need. Or it will rocket out of me, screaming, grateful to be released from its cage. It seems to be a part of me and alien at the same time. Something that desperately wants. It wants more, and other, and out.

I don't really have the words to properly express it, and I think that's where every story I have ever told, ever experienced and loved and connected to, has come from or gone to. It needs meaning. It craves expression. And all I have are words, which never quite seem adequate or worthy or enough. But sometimes they come close.

I have no doubt that I am haunted by stories. If such a thing as a soul exists, maybe mine is a story trying desperately to get free.












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