Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Blogger: JoLyn Brown on The Power of a Story

Today I'm joined by JoLyn Brown the Awesome, who is sharing with us her feelings on the power of stories. I am also featured on JoLyn's blog, here.  Take it away, Jolyn!


It's strange, how sometimes you don't know what you want to say until you tell a story. Sometimes, the unfolding of that story, the time you take to re-write it from a new perspective, is how you find a little bit of something your memory was trying to tell you. You just didn't understand until you wrote it out.

I've been seeing us, my brothers and me, walking to the edge of our lawn. When we were inches from the gravel road, we cupped our hands around our mouths and yelled through the rows of peach trees to my cousin's house. We had a code word we'd yell that meant "Can you come and play?"

Two of my dad's siblings raised their families in our town. My cousins and I grew up and most of us are still here. I don't stand outside and yell to get their attention, but I could, if I wanted to.

My husband's dad was in the military and they moved a lot. I don't have to say for you know how different his story is from mine. A package came last week, a late Christmas from his parents who live on the East Coast. My little boy opened up a Hallmark recordable story, and with a push of a button, they were in the room. 

My in-laws never do anything halfway. They told the story together, repeating whatever lines they wanted, inserting my son's name at random, and using the word "indubitably" the end of every page. My husband rolled his eyes when they began an impromptu song mid-way through the book, making up a tune to the words, and singing with more gusto than even most people manage in the shower. I laughed along, but honestly, thought I might cry. Not a sad cry, but one of those happy cries husbands like to tease about.

For a girl who once stood at the edge of her lawn to get her cousin, learning about distance has been hard. But I have learned something. 

I can count on my fingers the number of times I've seen my husband's parents. There are stories there. The first time they held my son. The way she sneaked into the baby's room and got him before he woke me. The tire swing and my father-in-law laughing at the round legged baby smiling up at him. I didn't teach my son to walk. They did. Indubitably, the word they think would be just hilarious to hear him say. 

I hear them in my living room, now. My son dances to them singing. Some stories are worth telling. Across an entire country, there are people who love us. I am thankful for all the stories that we keep, just waiting to re-tale. A story, a simple voice, a few words on paper, and I remember all the love I've felt, years ago on a dirt road, to a few days ago in my living room. And that is the power of a story.

***

JoLyn Brown is a wife and mother turned author. She writes Contemporary YA and is currently working on a LDS collection of short stories about the Relief Society. To learn more about her or her current project, check out her blog at jolynbrown.blogspot.com

10 comments:

franklycreative said...

I enjoyed JoLyn's perspective about story. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca H. Jamison said...

JoLyn, Your post reminds me that stories can help remind us of how much we're loved. They really are a way to connect and strengthen relationships.

Stacy Henrie said...

Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing this, JoLyn (and Tristi).

Valerie Ipson said...

Ohhh, I love this. So tender.

I'll go check out Tristi's post.

Renae W. Mackley said...

Memories often make the best stories because of the attached emotion. I liked JoLyn's use of the body in her telling (seeing, hearing, counting on fingers). Nice post.

Mandi said...

What a unique and poetic voice. Tristi, thanks for blog swap - two fantastic posts.

Donna K. Weaver said...

*sniff* You got me all misty with that lovely post, JoLyn. As a Navy brat, I know all about distance. And now as a grandmother with 3/4 of my grandkids in Hawaii and China, I know it even better. I love the story of the book. I started something like this when everyone moved away, but never got it quite read to send out. I need to do that.

kbrebes said...

Great visual writing and terrific emotion (I got misty eyed too). Thanks for showing us some powerful writing!!! But, I want to know what your code word was!!!

Wendy Swore said...

Awesome. I hope my kids will look fondly on our old dirt road too. Thanks for sharing.

JoLyn Brown said...

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments, and thank you Tristi for letting me be on your blog.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...