Storymongering and Such
When I announced my decision to title my soon-to-be blog The Storymonger at the dinner table, my little sister asked me what a storymonger was.
In my Big-Brother-Explains-All voice, I said that, well, a monger is someone who is very passionate and obsessive about something, and goes to great lengths to spread the aforementioned something. For example, dear sister, a Warmonger is an individual who charges around spreading thoughts and ideas of war.
She nodded, looked thoughtful, and then asked,
“So is that what a fishmonger does?”
I had to laugh, not at her excellent point, but at the mental image that shot into my brain. Big, wild-eyed men who reeked of salmon and tilapia, sprinting up and down city streets and tossing handfuls of live fish into the air, dumping them in Wal-Mart parking lots, and stuffing them down the fronts of unsuspecting pedestrians’ shirts. Or maybe a group of chickens, tired of getting picked on by their black-and-white bovine nemesis, banding together and marching around waving signs: Eat Mor Fisch. Fishmonger. It makes sense, if you think about it. The English language strikes again.
That’s kind of what we do, though–we members of the human race who make stories with words, cameras, musical instruments. We run around, wild-eyed, spouting our stories into the air for anyone who will listen, cramming them down the shirts of anyone who won’t. We are the storymongers.
I can’t say I’m the baddest of the bunch, but I do have my modest claims to the title. I wrote my first novel at the age of five, back when I held my Crayola jumbo marker the same way I held my favorite tree-branch (the one I pretended was a Bowie knife). The title was derived from the main story arc: How Jery Rat Kiled thu Monstr. A youth of many and diverse talents, I also self-illustrated to show the epic struggle between Jerry Rat and his nemesis in all its gory and mostly-red-colored splendor. Looking back on it, the development of theme and character was perhaps overshadowed by my complex fight sequences, but the critics of the day (my mother) absolutely loved it.
I’ve learned a little bit about the art and craft of story since Jerry Rat. None of the novels or short stories I’ve written since then have been perfect, but each one is just a little bit better than the last. Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” -Ernest Hemingway
To me, that’s not depressing. That’s exciting beyond words. We’re on a journey of discovery in this amazing world of story, and no matter how far we travel, we’ll never stop seeing new things, making new acquaintances, and discovering new ways of getting better. And that’s why I’m starting this blog–to share some of my own discoveries with all you other fantastic, storymongering, just-a-tad-weird individuals. The journey’s so much more fun when you have travelling companions.
So I hope you’ll stick around! I look forward to trading yarns with you somewhere down the path.