Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Are A Story

I didn't have much interest in people as a kid. Once I discovered books, the life within them seemed more real than the bustle around me.

I cared for and liked people but I didn't really see them...

Until I landed a job at my local newspaper.

As a freelancer, my editor expected a story on a person every two weeks to grace our Neighbors section, and it needed to be interesting. The story was supposed to focus on a local resident's unique skill or talent.

I was blind, not understanding, wondering how I could find these "special" people.

My editor forever changed my perpective. He told me every person has something unique, something special--even if they don't know it. It was my job to find that slant and spotlight it.

Now everyone I meet I'm full of curiosity about. Who are they? What's their story? Where have they been and where are they going?

If you were a story, what genre would you be? How do you see people? How do you think God sees people?

42 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

Intriguing questions. I think I'd be women's fiction....hubby and I could have a contemporary romance story. What a great reminder to see the special in everybody, Jessica. :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Women's fiction, I think we'll be getting a lot of that. LOL Sweet about you and hubby. :-)

Jessica Bell said...

I guess I'd be what I write, literary women's. I have a quite a dark past, but also a great sense of humour. So the mix would be interesting I think. Yikes. That sound like I'm really tooting my own horn! LOL Ok .. let's start again. "I'm really boring. I would be the blank page a write stared at before they begin." LOL :o)

Jessica Bell said...

Would be good if I could type too: *writer . :o)

Jessica Nelson said...

Hahahaa, Jessica, too funny! You're not tooting your own horn at all! It's good for us to know our strengths and I think humor in the midst of darkness is wonderful. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

I love asking people questions about themselves. My goal is to discover the subject that makes them come to life. It's the equivalent of someone asking me, "How's the writing going?" When I ask the right question and tap into someone's passion, I feel like a miner who's just struck it rich. I learn new things about their hobby or interest, but more important, I gain insights into what makes that friend unique.

Catherine West said...

Love the question! I think I have to say mystery. It takes a while for me to warm up to people - not because I'm nasty or anything (I hope), but I'm pretty shy! So you may not be able to figure me out right away, and you'll have to keep turning the pages to find out what makes me tick!
And it IS true - EVERYBODY has a story!!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

God sees all the intricate and fascinating details. He threaded us together with each one in mind.

I'd be women's fiction...no doubt.
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

Wendy, He is wonderful, isn't he! :-)

Catherine, I LOVE it! A mystery...what a great way to put it. :-)

Keli, I can totally tell that you're interested in people. It's one of the things that makes you so kind, I think. :-)

Melissa said...

I'm not sure what genre I'd be. My High School years were very...Gossip Girl/Pretty Little Liars/Any other show like that - full of drama, and backstabbing, and relationships starting and stopping within half an hour time slots. I've had bad stuff happen so I guess it could be a drama. But then, I also put humor into all the bad (because that's how I deal with it) and I also have a CRAZY supportive family and some really awesome friends so maybe my life is a sitcom? I really don't know......

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Is a memoir a genre? Yeah, I think that'd be me, with a whole lot of boring left out. It'd be a short memoir for sure!

Patti said...

I'd be women's fiction with a comedy of errors under tone.

Deb Shucka said...

It is amazing, isn't it how every single person we meet has amazing stories to tell. I'm often in awe of how many people are just dying to find someone to listen and care.

Angie Muresan said...

Hm. I have no idea what story I'd be. This would be a good facebook question for my friends. Maybe they could tell me.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love that you did that as a living. I would enjoy that so much.
I would be women's fiction for sure with a little suspense thrown in right now:)

Faith said...

What would I be? Hmm... whatever involves a lot of loud talking, flailing, and general nonsense. :)

I'm slowly learning that people are interesting, that everyone has a story to tell. I didn't have much interest in people until the past few years, either... maybe that's why I've suddenly realized memoirs are more exciting than I ever thought. I'd always dismissed them as dull, self-indulgent tomes... turns out a lot of them are absolutely fascinating!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Love this post, Jessica! You're so right. Everyone has something to share, but we're usually in too much of a hurry to listen.

Tana Adams said...

I think I would be a work of women's fiction. I think God sees my life spanning into eternity so the evolution of who I am is not as apparent to the rest of the world or even me, but to Him, He has faith I'll become exactly who I was destined to be.

Jill Kemerer said...

That's so funny that books trumped all when you were younger. I've always loved to read too, but I have a nosy side a mile wide. I am WAY too interested in people!!

Tamika: said...

Women's fiction:) From crafting my own stories I can appreciate people and differences in a whole new way. Everyone matters- God loves everyone and everything He created!

Georgiana said...

I'm definitely a chick lit! A bit of angst with a large side of humor :D

Fun question!

Diane said...

What a great job and awesome words that editor poured into you! I think most of us are too "busy" to really take the time to see what makes each one special. I know I'm guilty at times. :O)

Stephanie Faris said...

Part of my bachelor's degree was doing an internship at a TV station. I was very fortunate to get an internship working in the consumer affairs area. My job was to sift through the numerous letters we got from the public, picking out interesting stories. They'd write us about problems they were having with a business, etc., and we'd do a story on it to hopefully resolve the problem or at least give them some publicity on it. I learned so much on finding the interesting stories and pulling out the lead out of all of that. It was definitely great practice for being a writer!

Jessica Nelson said...

Hey Melissa, I'm sorry to hear that about your teen years. :-( Thank goodness for your family. Maybe in the future you'll be a cozy type of romance or family type fiction? Maybe like that Mitford series?

Eileen!!! I'm so glad to see your beautiful face. And I don't for a moment believe you have a boring life. I remember those garden pics you posted. Plus, you play with horses. That's exciting stuff! LOL

Jessica Nelson said...

Patti, funny!

Deb, that's so true. There's a deep need inside of all of us to MATTER.

Angie, thank you so much for stopping by! I need to head over to your blog and see what's going on lately...I hope you're well...

Jessica Nelson said...

Well, Terri, it wasn't for a living. I wish! I think the pay was a dime a word? And I wrote three hundred words...LOL But yes, it was a fun, exciting opportunity for me. :-) And I'm sorry about the suspense in your life. Hopefully it turns into a happy ending!

Faith, I've never really read memoirs...interesting. So you sound like a good chick-lit. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Sarah, that's a big part of it, I think.

Tana (gotta get used to that, lol) I love your perspective and think you're right on!

Now Jill, I didn't say I wasn't nosy. *grin* But my nosiness mostly had to do with my sisters' diaries and my mother's phone calls. LOL

Jessica Nelson said...

Hey Tamika, Yep to everything you said. :-)

LOL Georgiana!

Diane, I didn't realize at the time what an influence he would become in my life. Weird, right?

Stephanie, I didn't even know stations did stuff like that! How fascinating!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

So true. We're all living our own story.

Reminds me of that guy on the Sunday Morning Show who throws a dart at a map of the US then goes to whatever town it lands on and finds a great story there.

What genre am I? Hmmmm...
I'll have to get back to you.

Tabitha Bird said...

Yup. I 100% agree with you here. We are all our own story. everyone has SOMETHING about them that makes them unlike the person next to them. Something that makes them special. What a great job. I wish I had one like that!

anita said...

What an AWESOME post, dear friend! I love the way you see things through your journalist's eye. ;-)

What intriguing questions, too. I have no idea what kind of story I'd be. Probably one that's WAY too hard to fit into a box and has a hard time getting published because no one knows for sure where it fits in at first. HA!

I already know what kind of story you would be. Inspirational. :-)

Jeanette Levellie said...

I never knew you worked at a newspaper! That's wonderful!!!

I'd be a humorous chick drama. Can I do that? Camy Tang style.

Linda Kage said...

I'm proably still that type that sees more in characters in a book than I do people in real life. Geesh, how embarrassing. I need to open my eyes and look around me.

What a wonderful post. Thanks.

Karen Lange said...

I'd like to be historical fiction, but I don't know how feasible that would be. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

What an interesting job!

If I were a story, my genre would be suspense. My life has taken some unusual turns. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Lynn said...

Challenging but, wow, that job must have been God's way of preparing you to create characters for your fiction! Often I'll drive by houses, abandoned or filled, and wonder what stories happened there, or what conversations happened on empty benches. If I was a genre, I'd probably be woman's 'realistic' fiction on the serious, darker side!

Nancy said...

Since I'm a teacher, I'd problaly be a how-to book. How to what? I don't know. I just think that would be a good fit.

I see people in more detail than people who aren't writers. I just have always done this. Right now, I'm deliberately trying to see people the way God sees them.

Rita Gerlach said...

Your post reminded me of how important keeping a journal is for our descendants. Yes, we all have our story to tell. I would have loved to have had my great great grandmother's diary. She married on Christmas Day 1865 against her father's wishes. She was cut out of the family in total. I've had a thousand questions, and no one in the family knows the answers.

Not long ago my aunt sent me a copy of a page my grandmother wrote...just one page that begins with 'I'm going to tell the story of my life.' No one knows if she wrote more than the one page. But it was thrilling for me to see her handwriting and read into her words the emotion she felt as she penned about her ten children and the sons that went off to war.

Write your story, or write something to pass down. A few years ago I started writing short stories from childhood and gave them to my family at Christmas.

Glynis said...

Lovely post. :)

We are all unique and give something to the world on a daily basis.

I would be a fairy story. My head is in the clouds most days. ;0

denise petrovich said...

I agree it is a wonderful post. I have no idea where I would fit. I guess it depends on what part of my life I am looking at. I think God knows we are walking mistakes with hearts created for him. He loves us no matter what and his patience surpasses all understanding!!

Jessica Nelson said...

Hey mom, yep, that's true!

Glynis, LOL! A fairy story is not a bad thing to be.

Rita, FASCINATING!!! My mom brought some letters that my grandma wrote too and it was so cool to try to read them.

Nancy, you'd be non-fiction, huh? Very interesting. ;-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Hey Lynn, yeah, the job was good, especially at teaching me how to write short. lol

Fun Susan! As long as the ending is good, right?

And Karen, I think you could be whatever you want. :-)

Linda, that's cute. Don't worry, having a kid might help. lol

Jeanette, I think you already are! lol