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Story Inspiration

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary describes story as “an account of accidents or events.” But, I think I learned in my sixth grade free-write that not every story has to be completely fleshed out to be a good story. A story may have very little plot, but still act to inspire the reader in some way.

When I wrote during those few minutes in sixth grade, I did not write a story. I wrote a feeling. I wrote a photograph. I couldn’t even call it a vignette, because a vignette would have some sort of broader context.

coruscant_at_night

But since then, I’ve learned to be able to attach a feeling, a moment like this, to a story. In a vignette I wrote called “First Snow in the Mountains,” I was able to craft a moment that had the context that was missing when I wrote in sixth grade. It took me eight years, a lot of reading, and some excellent teachers and mentors to be able to do this, but it showed the progress I had made as a writer.

vscocam

Why does this matter to me (or to you, dear reader)?

It matters because it shows the impetus behind my writing. Namely, that I believe writing should make a reader feel and then motivate them to act.

(Disclaimer: I don’t claim that my writing does this, but I sure hope it does.)

In my understanding of Buddhist metaphysics, the Buddhist worldview describes people as the result of infinite causes and conditions. Human-beings, each one of us, are only who we are right now because of all of the other happenings that have brought us to this present moment. Whether that be our birth, the decision of our parents to move to a certain place at a certain time, or any number of other events and decisions, these moments have made us who we are. This is not only true of you, but also of me, and also of every other person, place, and thing with which we have ever interacted. The way I have heard this described is “independently co-arising.” We are all becoming, and this process is our own, but unavoidably linked to the goings-on around us.

If this is true (and I believe it is) then that also explains our place in the world. By that I mean that it gives us the beginnings of purpose. Your own philosophical, metaphysical, sociological, and religious beliefs will all contribute to this purpose, but at our most base we all affect one another. Our stories have an impact on those around us.

Writers (narcissistic breed that we are) have the unique opportunity to have an impact well beyond anyone we will ever meet. As such, I believe that we have the implicit responsibility to craft something that makes the world a better place. The most effective way to do this, in my opinion, is to make a reader feel something that prompts them to act. I think stories are one of the best ways to do that.

(Wow, that was a lot of opinion there. Feel free to post alternative opinions in the comments)

The best stories that I have read made me feel something and made me want to do something. When I wrote in sixth grade I was writing about a feeling, but what I wrote did not prompt me to want to do anything. I doubt anyone who read it would have felt differently.

All that said, I think I have come a long way in my writing. I think you see some of that development on this blog. But I couldn’t have done that without help. As a writer, and as a future educator, I hope to be able to inspire people. That’s what that is called right? When you feel something that causes you to take action? Surely that is a decent definition of inspiration. Hopefully, I will help others to rise to something greater.

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About the Author

Posted by

I am Charlie Eich. I am a student, friend, and occasionally, a writer. Native to the great state of Colorado. This site is where you will find any and all words of mine. Whether they be a short story, poem, or simply thoughts, these are the things I found worthy of the world wide web. Enjoy.

4 Comments

  1. I agree that a good, solid, story worth reading has to have both a feeling and a “call to action”. This reminds me of reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed; after I finished it I felt as though I was her, as though I, too, had lost my mother and didn’t know what to do about it other than to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. You should write a book like that. One that could make me feel something and want to act on it. I’d read it.

  2. Wow! I have very similar beliefs, and I appreciate that you took the time to point out that those were your beliefs, and that you are able to recognize that they are merely opinion and not fact. I am finding that to be a very valuable quality. As i delve further into my education, I am beginning to recognize that who we are at this present moment is due to our surroundings, as well as how we react to it. Though, I view literature slightly different, I appreciate that you are wanting to write in order to influence, prompting the reader to act. I personally view literature as a personal growth, which as I’m writing I suppose that is similar to what you were describing. Literature is so neat to me, because I believe reading is a completely different experience between every person based on their previous experience, and the lens through which they see the world.
    Your writing is beautiful and I would love to read more of it at some point, as well as chat with you in regards to your beliefs. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love your purpose as a writer and I’m glad you have one that will impact the world in such a positive way. I agree a lot with the idea that good writing makes people want to act, but additionally, in my own experience, good writing makes me want to be somebody more. This might just be a form of wanting to act, since you have to do something to be something, but good writing always inspires me to be more than a typical student, friend, sister, or community member. I’ve always had trouble trying to match up to the writing that inspires me, struggling for the write ideas or words to make the audience really think. But even if we take a few minutes to free-write, like you did in 6th grade, maybe eventually it will turn into something really powerful. I love your outlook on things – keep writing!

  4. Bre

    You are a writer already! And it excites me to think of what future writings will be forthcoming to us, your students.

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