“When there is a story not being told, you tell the story yourself.”
This past month has had me thinking a lot about story and how it impacts my creative life. I’ve never noticed it before but I just naturally put what I’m creating into story form, whether creating a piece of music, writing a book, taking a photo, or making a video it all starts with story.
I’ve had to ask myself the question, is this where I feel safe enough to create?
Telling a story no matter the medium is a safety net for me. There’s nothing wrong with it but what if I didn’t have that goal. What would my creative moment look like? Would I be able to create or would the well run dry of creativity.
I decided to take one of my photographs and make a series called Theme and Variations at Sunset. No story, just wreck less creating. At first I felt a little nervous because I didn’t know where this would go. I didn’t know what would happen.
“Oh my gosh, I thought, There’s no structure.”
I released my fear by just creating and as I did so many new ideas came and it was even hard to stop. This left me thinking more about story. Is story really a structure of beginning, middle, end or can there be an abstract story of just creating, just being in the moment, and experiencing something new?
In my creative experiment I changed the story. If I didn’t create in the first place then the story wouldn’t be told whether a structured story or an abstract one.
Later I remembered a poem by Jelaluddin Rumi called Story Water. For Rumi the story is the medium and not the structure. The person creating is part of the medium of expression and when the creation is finished it reveals a secret, a hidden part of the one creating.
Remembering this poem gave me a new perspective on the stories one tells through their craft. Once a week now I just sit down and do a creative moment in a different way, opening the door to new expressions.
A story is like water
that you heat for your bath.
It takes messages between the fire and your skin. It lets them meet,
and it cleans you !
Very few can sit down
in the middle of the fire itself
like a salamander or Abraham.
We need intermediaries.
A feeling of fullness comes,
but usually it takes some bread
to bring it.
Beauty surrounds us,
but usually we need to be walking
in a garden to know it.
The body itself is a screen
to shield and partially reveal
the light that’s blazing
inside your presence.
Water, stories, the body,
all the things we do, are mediums
that hide and show what
and enjoy this being washed
with a secret we sometimes know,
and then not.
Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.