Sharing our Strong Stories
We all have strong stories, and so much of being a writer or artist is about finding ways to tell those stories. This is the first time I’ve mentioned my brother in a story. I suspect it won’t be the last.
I’ve been thinking about how there are two sides of the storytelling coin: receiving and transmitting. Before we can tell a story, we have to look for it, listen to it, research it, write our way into it, or, in many cases, experience it. Then we have to figure out how to tell—or transmit—the story: in a painting? a song? a novel? a history? a comic? a poem? a film? an opera?
In my bio, I describe myself as a writer who started drawing. I am also a fiction writer who started writing nonfiction. I was afraid to write nonfiction because my life seemed so boring. I was afraid to start drawing because I hadn’t gone to school for it. Ironically, getting a PhD in English freed me from the notion that school was the only way to learn something.
Part of my creative journey, then, has been about experimenting with new ways to transmit stories. It used to be all words for me. Now it’s image and text together. Perhaps there will be other modes in the future. I have occasionally worried that I don’t have a signature “visual style” because I like working with so many different media and color palettes. Every new story or comic looks different from the last one. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot stick to one medium/style, and my daughter assures me that if you look at my instagram feed, it all more or less looks like it came from the same person. :)
I have also not always thought of myself as a “storyteller,” in part because I’m not that great at orally “telling” stories—I have to write and draw them. But when I’m in my ancestral village talking with Norwegian relatives, I’m leaning in, taking notes, asking questions—receiving. And here I am, transmitting some of those stories to you.
Your writing about your heritage is wonderful. Loved reading and seeing your illustrations!
Love this. It’s about what’s on your heart…. And how you express it. Your readers will feel it. That’s what matters. Great story and I miss Christian dearly.