Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stories for the fun of it

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Since I was so serious about stories yesterday, maybe I should add some leaven today.

Some stories are just good fun. The Da Vinci Code, for example. I loved it for what it was. I loved the way each chapter led you to the next chapter. Those kinds of stories are great too.

Stephanie Plum is that way. Her meanderings are just good fun. I see Tim Cockey's Hitchcock Sewell books as the same kind of thing.

And some stories mix fun and what I would call sacred story telling. Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe stories do that for me.

So, I thank God for stories. There are all kinds of stories. And we read for all kinds of reasons.

All good things, even our chance to read the books we love, will cease.

In The Body in the Record Room, the little man says, "Nothing lasts forever."

When you do what I did for twenty-five years, you become aware how true that is. If you have a friend with emphysema, maybe even someone who is dying, you stop and thank God for your ability to breathe right now. You tell yourself you need to use each breath well because breaths are limited like everything else.

But when you see that same friend who is struggling to breathe still helping his neighbor, being one of those unsung heroes who asks no one to notice what he does, you begin to think that well-lived lives are the basis of all sacred stories.

And so we come full circle. It is not just the stories we read or tell that matter. It is the lives we lead. I still thank God for that man who popped up in my mind today, that man whose memory came to me as I wrote about "Stories for the fun it." He was a very private man. He wouldn't want me to mention his name, but still, he was a man who changed my life, and I am grateful.

If you would like to respond to this post, please leave a comment or go to my web site where there is an email address. Thanks.


Lesa said...

Thank you, Joe. You're right. Sometimes, you just need those stories that are fun. And, I agree with you. The Da Vinci Code, Stephanie Plum books, and, for me, Robert B. Parker's books, are just fun. Sometimes that escape is just perfect.

Lesa Holstine

Joe Barone said...

Robert Parker's books do that for me too.