“What’s your story, boy?”
“I don’t have a story.”
“Every man got a story.”
The Saint of Fort Washington
Three simple lines of dialogue.
A simple declaration by a homeless man: “Every man has a story.”
I saw this film, starring Danny Glover and Matt Dillon, many years ago in my late teens and the lines above resonated with me, deep in my spirit and in my soul.
I wrote down the lines in a notebook (which I still have). Deep in my spirit and deep within my soul these words planted a seed that is only now beginning to germinate and take root.
When I am asked why I write, this will be my answer: “Every man got a story.”
I wrote a manifesto.
It is my declaration of who I am as a creative person.
It is my declaration of who I am as a writer.
I am a writer.
I write because I want to tell a story, but not just any story.
I write because I want to tell the story of those who are not heard.
I write because I want to tell the story of those who cannot speak.
I write because I want to tell the story of those who are disempowered.
I write because I want to tell the story for those who cannot.
I write because I believe that telling a person’s story is integral in understanding who they are.
I create art to speak into the darkness, that I may be a light for others to ignite their own flame and walk clearly.
Last night in a quick burst of ideas on twitter I threw down some words. It extrapolates further on my manifesto. I have compiled them here (with some editing for clarity and development).
People matter because every individual has the potential to be amazing in their own way. We ignore the everyday because we think it’s insignificant.
Instead we worship the grandeur of the successful and the famous. They are inspirational and we learn from them but it is little more than hollow idolatry.
The most influential people in our lives are the ones we know intimately because we’ve learned from their example, both in word and in deed, even when they are not looking. We have been mentored by their advice, corrected by their discipline and modelled our lives after theirs.
They are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, coaches, teachers. They are servants at heart.
And they are ordinary people.
But in their ordinariness, they have become extraordinary.
For in doing so, we grant them dignity & respect.
I write truths about life through story by focusing on the little things, the seemingly insignificant: an argument before a family holiday (The Holiday), a gardening accident (Open Wounds), mental illness (Scar Tissue/Pieces of A Puzzle), cancer (The Naked Jacaranda), discrimination and disability (Give Me Your Hands), life expressed through sound (Sounds of the Heartbeat).
Simple truths expressed through story; parables and fables in their own way. It is an expression of loving your neighbour as yourself because story connects people.
Let me tell you a story.
But first, tell me your story.