She Reads espouses this truth: I believe story is the shortest distance to the human heart. Love that! What is it about story that attracts us, has the power to move–even to change? Why, for time immemorial, do we human beings crave stories? I think it’s in part because people are interested in people, whether they’re very much like us or not so much. We like seeing how they act and react under pressure–in love, out of love, living out the adventure, muddling through the mundane. We want to know, and we want to know through story.
We love story so much that we want to know even the stories behind the stories. Are we addicted or what?
My most recent novel, Still to a Whisper, features a viola with a past. Alli–the novel’s heroine with a past of her own–has acquired this viola (Alli’s son names it Lola) from a beloved music teacher, who discovered the centuries-old instrument collecting dust in a second-hand shop in Budapest. When the teacher asks about the scratch marks marring the backside of Lola, the Hungarian shopkeeper explains that the instrument once belonged to Gypsies. One night, in flight from The Law, the Gypsies tossed this lovely instrument into the bushes to speed their escape. From there it made its way to his shop, where, because of the scratches, it’s been overlooked by generations of buyers. But the teacher is undeterred She sets bow to strings and discovers that the scratches make no difference to the viola’s voice. She purchases the viola for a song and gives it to Alli, who claims it as her most prized possession.
I included this back-story in my novel for two reasons. One, because it happens to be true. In interviewing musicians for the making of my novel, I discovered a violist who shared this story about her own instrument. (Thanks, Brynn!) The other reason I included it goes back to what I said above. We simply love stories. They add flavor, texture to the everyday features of our lives. And every once in a while, we find one that resonates deep in our souls.
I kind of like what that says about human nature, don’t you?
Why do you think story matters? Leave a comment today and I’ll enter you in a drawing to receive a bag of your choice of Storytime Java to enhance your next storytime experience (Continental U.S. residents only, please).