Monday, July 30, 2007

What's Your Takeaway?

"… I want you to tell me something first: after you're dead and buried and floating around whatever place we go to, what's going to be your best memory of earth?"
"What do you mean? I don't get it."
"What one moment for you defines what it's like to be alive on this planet? What's your takeaway?"

~ Douglas Coupland, Generation X
We've been telling takeaway stories at Curt's house on Tuesday nights lately. 'Who is we?' you ask. Well, Curt and I, for starters. Then pretty much just whoever happens to show up. Often Jeana is there. Oh, and before Jason left he was there frequently too. And then there are Michelle and Matt and Becky. It just kind of depends. It seems that more people have started showing up on Tuesday nights, so it stands to reason that we will hear more people's takeaway stories soon...

Anyhow, if I'm going to go on any further about these takeaway stories, I should probably do something in the way of explaining exactly what I mean, should I not? Based on the above passage from Generation X, Curt and I thought it would be cool to figure out what our takeaway stories are. But we also thought that maybe everybody doesn't have just one takeaway story. We thought that most people probably have lots of little moments that have touched or shaped them in some way and are significant to them. So we modified the concept a bit and went with it.

Basically, for us, a takeaway story is any story that has marked you. It can be the most seemingly insignificant moment of all of history, but if it marked you, it is yours to own. Takeaway stories are about the moments we know we are alive - the moments when we see a part of ourselves for the first time or have a great triumph - the moments when things change just a little bit forever - the moments when we are just being and we feel alive and infinate - the moments when we love and when we know we are loved, and the moments when we realize what sorrow is. Pretty broad, huh? But like I said, they're basically stories about moments that marked you.

Why bother to tell our stories? We started telling them sort of on a lark - mostly because we love the art of storytelling and it seemed like an interesting way to pass the time. But then something happened. We started discovering moments that have been there all along that we never realized were so significant to us. And while this was very cool, we started seeing something else too. We started seeing that telling our stories allowed us to know and be known. It allowed us to come to know one another and value what we have become and are becoming. There is something about this storytelling that is very connective to me. I suppose that being a storyteller inherently involves being vulnerable. You are allowing yourself to be known - not only by the content of your story but by the way it is told. What is said, how it is said, what is not said - these all give insight into who a storyteller is, even if he or she is telling a story that is not their own. Every storyteller brings what he or she is into every story. I don't know why or how this is true, but I know that it is. I suspect that it can't be helped - that it is a sort of natural order of things - that as light shines through stained glass and colors everything it hits, our souls somehow shine through us and color the tales we spin. It has been amazing hearing my friends' takeaway stories because it has allowed me to see their hearts in ways I never could have seen them before, and because of this I am coming to know them and to love them in unimaginable ways. It has been good for my heart, and I think it has been quite good for my community.

Anyhow, I thought it might be fun and insightful to post my takeaway stories from time to time. I figured that explaining what they are ahead of time might help with understanding them. So you might soon start seeing blogs titled "Takeaway Story # X" and then some random story title. This is your heads up for that.

Oh, and we do have a few rules we use for takeaway stories, just in case anyone was curious. They are:

1. Takeaway stories start with "This one time" or "Once upon a time" 'Why?' you ask. It sounded good at the time...
2. No rude interruptions.
3. No making fun of anybody's story - as a whole or in any part.
4. No discounting / devaluing your own story (for example, before you start your story you say, 'well, this is kind of a dumb story, but...' This is against the rules. Any moment that marked you and helped make you what you are is a worthwhile story. Period.)

That's all for now!

P.S. Check my 'Currently Reading'. Wizard and Glass may very well be my all time favorite book. I love it! My current favorite quote from it is:

"Tell him he's wrong. Tell him that even if he's right about waiting, he's right for the wrong reasons, and that makes him all the way wrong."

Pulp fiction, my @ss!

Currently reading :
Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, Book 4) By Stephen King Release date: By 07 October, 2003

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