Hear the words and the music
When was the last time you sat and really heard someone's story? From birth to the present, with life's symphony of drama, joy and challenge in between?
To sit and be taken on the journey as they traverse the highways and byways of memory - it's a gift. Stories fascinate me: where people come from, what they've done, who they are and why. I love the diving deep, the making of connections, the ebb and flow and circling back of the tale.
Today held such a story, which I now have a responsibility to re-present. My job is to take all my knowledge of this person, then to whittle, craft and shape it into something they will recognise as a faithful depiction of themselves.
I find a lot of joy in this process: in having them see and read it and say "Yes. It is more than I had hoped."
It takes some time: I call it percolation - when all of the information flies around in my head, gradually settling into the form the story needs to take. Many creatives recognise this as an integral part of their creative process. It is not always easy. I also describe writing as extraction: when the words are pulled forcibly from somewhere deep within.
The trick is to listen. Learn when to pause, consider, and clarify the weight in a thought. And know when to let it come, let it pour directly onto the page, trusting that the essence is there.
The essence is what we seek. The sweet-smelling stamen, the thorn in your foot. The pitch perfect note.
Wish me luck for this story.