I am grateful that you have visited my blog. I hope your visit is a successful one. Please feel free to comment, contact or otherwise interact with the site and with me. I'm beginning to spread my wings photographically, so please take a look at Paul's Photos on Flickr (on the right). which will lead you to my presence on Flickr. Again, your comments, feedback or whatever are very welcome. Let us assist each other in our pursuit of our own truth, our own Dreaming. Peace!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let Me Tell You a Story: It's a Good One!

Has anyone seen Walk the Line? It’s a great movie that tells the story (or a version thereof) of the life of Johnny Cash. Yes, I know: not everyone is into country music. This movie, however, is an intriguing insight into the life and work of a troubled artist—an artist who was a genius in this blogger’s humble opinion. Anyway, grab the DVD and you can make up your own mind.

There is a scene in the movie in which Johnny is about ten or so. He’s talking to his brother who is maybe 14. The brother is studying the Christian scriptures (he wants to be a preacher when he grows up, but dies soon after in a horrific accident) and Johnny says, ‘Why you studying so hard?’ His brother looks up from his reading and says,

‘You can’t help nobody if you don’t tell ´em the right stories.’
Yes, I thought when I heard that, you have to tell them the right stories. But, what are the right stories? It’s a good question but, fortunately, there is a simple answer: they are all the right stories. For us writers, visual artists, filmmakers or other tellers of stories, there is only the need t tell the stories, whatever they are, whenever they emerge.

The ‘them’ of poor brother Cash’s reply are those who get to hear/see/feel our stories. They may be the intended audience; they may be people we have, at the time of telling, no idea about. This is especially so for anyone brave enough to post their creative output on the internet. And that’s the joy of it don’t you think? We tell the story (in whatever genre or using whatever medium) and it takes off all by itself, impacting on who knows who, in what ways we can’t say. And where and when it lands? Well it has its own life now: it’s no longer in our control.

I just wrote that ‘all’ stories are the right ones. I don’t mean by that that I think anything goes. I have my moral and ethical standards that dictate what stories I tell (and what stories I choose to hear). Of course we all do don’t we? Having said that, I do not suggest for a second that I can judge what stories you or anyone else should or should not be telling. That’s also up to you. I may not agree with you, nor you with me, but that’s life.

And it’s also true that the stories that ‘help’ people come in all shapes and forms and are about an unlimited variety of subjects. Then there’s the matter of timing. How often have you read something inspirational just when you needed some guidance or advice? Or what about those times when you are feeling a bit low or under the weather and you come across a story that makes you smile or otherwise lifts your spirits? I’ve often been in need of a good cry only to come across a sad movie or story or a moving tale of one kind or another.

So, let’s keep telling stories. They are all the right ones for us to tell. Somewhere, just the other day, I came across another quote (forgive me: I don’t know who said it, or even remember where I found it) that reads:

If there is a way to improve the world, it is by telling a good story.
Now, once upon a time on a dark but not so stormy night ...

PS I saw the movie in Dharamsala India. On a postcard home I wrote a little rhyme about some writing work I was doing on local environmental issues for a local magazine:

He walked the line
did Johnny Cash.
But here in Dalai Lama Land
my words will help reduce trash.

I did say stories come in all shapes and forms didn't I?



  1. This is a very interesting post and it hits home with me. When I started my blog, this is where I post my small paintings, I was a bit worried about also posting the stories, poems or thoughts that inspired my tiny paintings. But then I thought, I'm not trying to sell myself as a writer, a poet or an author. After all I'm not even a true artist! I'm letting the viewers know what story, poem, memory or thought was in my mind as I painted!!! So I went with it and I've met some wonderful people because I tell my stories :)

  2. Hello Janice Thank you for your comments. Your expeience is a good illustration of my post! I've seen your paintings by the way. I would be careful about saying you aren't a "real artist" (whatever that means). I think a lot of people would disagree with you. And you are right abuot people met: I am very pleased I am on Facebook for example and that I have this blog. It's been a good reminder tat there are a lot of nice people out there we just never get to meet

  3. I'm sorry for not explaining about not being a "true artist". I am self taught and by that I mean I just picked up some brushes, paints and watercolor paper and started painting! But I don't paint large, beautiful, paintings that you could hang in a gallery. My paintings are mostly 2.5" by 3.5" or an occasional 4" by 6". No one is going to give me a show for my tiny paintings :) Please don't get me wrong. I'm happy painting and I enjoy what I do. I've just never felt real comfortable calling myself an "artist" but it's the only word I know that fits :)

  4. Ah I see. Well, Janice it seems to me that picking up brushes, paints and paper and painting is a good way to define what an artist does. I think you interpret the world aorund you in your paintings. That makes you an artist. And size doesn't matter when it comes to art and creativity. Also, your paintings have a potentially huge audience via your blog, much more than would see them at a gallery. And who says nobody would show them in a gallery? I think you would be surprised. I would say there is even a bit of a move towards smaller paintings. More and more people want art in their lives but don't have the money or the space for big works by "famous" artists. Repeat after me "My name is Janice and I am an artist"

  5. "My name is Janice and I am an artist" :)
    Thank you~~~

  6. Congratulations!! No turning back now


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