While everyone else was asleep at 4 a.m. this morning, I was dreaming about stories, all the many stories we tell—the true ones and the truth tucked inside made-up stories—and how we tell about ourselves, our hopes and our fears, in our fantasies. Even the wildest fantasy contains our personal truths about how we feel the world is or should be or how we fear it to be.

In my classes, I used to tell a lot of ‘teaching stories’ and I know that wrapping a truth inside a fantasy is a way to get it across, especially when the ‘fantasy’ is true too, and people just assume it isn’t because it doesn’t fit with their view of the world. If you tell them that this is how the world is they are likely to just go into denial (and maybe even get angry), but if it’s ‘just a story’ they can listen. It’s a seed, a penny that may just drop into the slot and something might happen. A connection can be made. Eventually.

The heart of a story can be hidden in jokes, in fables, in dream imagery. Our worlds, daytime and night, are aswirl with stories. We live them, we breathe them, we call them fantasies and say we don’t believe them—and then often we act as if they are true.

We are not things. We are stories moving through time. Dream your stories well, my dear, because they are your heart.

If I were to tell you
all of my stories,
you still wouldn’t know
how I got where I am.
You’d have to know
the stories of those whose paths
crossed and entwined with mine.

I only know fragments,
but if you want to know me
(or I want to know you),
we’ll really have to look
at all the stories and how
they wind together
into the One True Story
called the Universe.

Are you big enough
to hold all that?
Prepare to be surprised:
Yes. You are.

There are no lost
or separated bits—
just One
and we’re It.

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

3 thoughts on “Stories

  1. This was lovely to wake up to this morning. I’ve been thinking about stories a lot too; wondering why the stories I want to write and tell and full of magic and magical beings. You have helped me to realize that I’m telling my truth about the way I want, no the way I believe, the world is. Thank you.

  2. A man who I greatly enjoyed when first coming to recovery about nine years ago, found his writings through the internet, Neville Goddard, wrote “Heaven is like sharing where nothing is lost.” Really like that.

    wonderful prose and poesy
    Love you Jessica, you inspire

  3. like you poem and’s true – there are neverending stories and we humans and all the univers and beings intertwined and yet cannot possibly reveal everything through words, no matter how marvellous. One book i greatly enjoyed is ~The Wasted Vigil = an entanglement of people in the beautiful landscape of afghanistan(that i visited0… exquisite beauty and heartrending sadness and atrocity.
    When I was in my early 20’s I decided to pay up for a short story and journalism course to improve my writing. I had a personal tutor who commented, when I’d written a precis of my life as required..”You have had an interesting life and I’m sure you will produce some worthwhile writing.”…our first assignment was to write a love story – like for a woman’s magazine. I thought, o god, I didn’t realise the course would be like this, so I scratched around in my limited love experience and wrote of something that had happened to me in the south of france.. everything was true – no need to make anything up.. it had all the ingredients – man, woman, landscape, feelings, action.. strange and inconclusive outcome. My coach replied, not that i had expressed myself so inadequately in words that you could not believe..but she said, These things could not possibly have happened and you should only write things that are believable..” so that was the end of my course. I do think reality, or my own and others’ subtle reality and experience is more moving than anything manufactured.. I am still looking for a way to improve my writing x

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