The Page a Day Writers Group

Story junkies

Posted on: January 9, 2010

A Drug Addict Injecting Herself, Early 20th Century, by Eugene Grasset

I have an addiction. I’m a story junkie.

I can get my fix from gossip sites, Facebook, blogs, video clips, monologues, comics, morning DJs, friends and family, comedy monologues, news items, NPR, magazines, podcasts, TV, movies, and, of course, books. I have an insatiable appetite. A day without as many stories as possible crammed into it is a wasted day. A story is not always beginning, middle and end. Sometimes it’s just the middle, or the ending, and the rest is up to my imagination.

A story doesn’t have to have the traditional elements, archetypes or forms. It just has to satisfy, whether it’s popcorn fare or a seven-courser, it’s all food for thought. But because I devour so many stories, and am so relentless in the pursuit of my next fix, maybe I’m not so choosy. I just enjoy them. I like to absorb them, digest them, take what I need and spit out the rest, just like sunflower seed hulls. There’s always something of value. An idea, an image, a character or experience, a good laugh or cry. Then it’s on to the next one.

Like a shark, always swimming, I cannot rest. I read everything at lightning speed, street signs, license plates, cereal boxes, advertisements, looking for some aspect of a tale. Actually, I wish I didn’t have this constant compulsion to read every single string of letters or words I see. It would be more restful, but there it is.

Just feeding my habit the best way I can. Like a whale, straining plankton through its baleen, I sieve stories from the media world around us, and take nourishment from the tiniest snippets of information. Think about how many stories you hear in a day, where you hear them, how much of the story you need for it to be meaningful and how that story affects your outlook and emotions. Consider how empty, how absolutely null and void, our human existence would be without the powerful language of Story, shaping and cataloging our lives.  Think about the best and worst stories you’ve ever heard–the ones that stay with you, year after year. Can we have stories without words, images or sounds? If you can find a story even in silence, then you too are probably a story junkie. Salut!

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3 Responses to "Story junkies"

Well put! I never thought about the number of stories I hear in a day! And no, I can’t imagine my life without them!

Story sharks, yes! And I love the acknowledgement that beginning, middle and end are not at all necessary on this daily journey of story gobbling. These snippets are glorious mental springboards that we are filing away for fodder, even if we don’t realize it all the time… 🙂

Hmm. I’d never thought of myself as a story addict before. Coffee addict, maybe. Now that you mention it, though, this need for story certainly fits the bill. You think there’s a 12-step? Nah. Forget it. I don’t want to kick this habit anyway.

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The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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