ordinarystoryYour description of your here-and-now, while it may seem painfully mundane to you—well, to put it plainly, it’s a reader magnet. At least it is for me when I read the writings of others. I can’t resist.

Word out your cat stretching long on the blanket beside you and the way the steam swirls up from your spiced tea on an autumn morning while Pandora croons Dashboard Confessional through your ear-buds, and I am yours.

This phenomenon is particularly true when we are writing our way to healing. Your pain is part of your story. An important part, since that is usually where the growth happens. Ever noticed that? It gives the term “growing pains” a whole new meaning.

When I describe my surroundings, interweave my thoughts with vivid imagery, my reader is here with me. She can feel the baby hairs tickling her face from my box fan, smell the slightest hint of caramel from my coffee, hear strains of my favorite song from another room. She is brought into my here and now.

Nothing draws a reader in like authenticity. Your stories deserve the detail that will make them real to all who hear them. What you consider commonplace takes on new life in the mind’s eye of one who has never sat at your desk, breathed your air, held your hand in grief.

So where do you start? You start with the simple, and move outward from there. Every story deserves to be told, so just start with the first one that comes to mind.

By way of example, I might write about a photograph I saw yesterday that reminded me of my mother and formed a painful lump in my throat as I thought about how her face fell at the flea market that day when she worried by the car about the bills and she started to cry and my world went dark, how I still feel that ache every time I remember that day.

What is your story? Just one. Don’t worry about the next one yet; just start somewhere and describe the ordinary things only you in your memory can see, feel, taste, smell, hear. Bring us into your world and let us feel along with you. Let us be your sisters on this journey so you don’t feel so alone.

This life wasn’t meant to be lived alone, and healing certainly isn’t a lone ranger process.

So talk to me. Let me know you. Describe your experiences to me and let me see through your eyes and know the real you. Don’t let fear or assumptions rob us both. When I know you I will only love you more.

Bring me in. Tell me your story and I will tell you mine and they will merge. You will become part of mine, and I yours.

Let’s write our next chapters together.



Featured at Write Where It Hurts


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