“A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.” —Alice Munro
My house is my story.
What a great thought.
And it is always on fire.
If my story is my house … well … I tend to believe we all live in a house on fire.
And for years I have debated what the Williams quote really meant … at least to me … and then I found the ‘house is my story’ quote and I had my answer.
Now … I am no literary expert nor am I particularly insightful with regard to inner meanings … therefore my thoughts are tainted <or skewed> by my attitude toward Life and living.
Me? We don’t need no water … let the motherfucker burn.
My attitude … my thoughts.
Well … I actually think a couple thoughts. Inner fire. Outer fire. Our story is surrounded by fire.
Within and without.
The inner fire.
The fire is inner curiosity. A passion for something. A spirit and capacity for something. It is always burning … and it can burn you up if you don’t set it free.
It is a restless fire.
I will make a generalization here … but … suffice it to say that we all know bitter people. People who have strong opinions but are fairly close minded.
They are burning up from the inside out.
In the close mindedness they have squeezed the fire of life so tightly it fries them. The rooms in the house are burning and they have no place to go.
That’s why I rarely get angry with close minded people or bitter people … I know that most of them are simply burning up from an inner fire that curiosity just hasn’t set free.
By the way … this also means that I don’t really believe the inner spark goes out in most people.
The people that have lost that inner fire have simply lost hope … and maybe I am naïve but I hope that they are few and far between.
“Do not let your fire go out, sparked by irreplaceable spark. And the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish. And lonely frustration for the life you deserved but never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. And it is yours.”
Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill
I think the inner spark always burns.
That there is a fire within everyone.
That inner fire is burning all the time … some people get burned up … others spread the fire … but that fire is there … awaiting to be rekindled if it is diminished.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” - Albert Schweitzer
Then there is the outer fire.
This would be the house we live in … burning down around us.
I believe the house we live in, Life, burns all the time.
Because our story lives within a forest always burning.
Life isn’t easy.
And in-between the fire always burns.
Here is the challenge with your story being your house and the thought it is always burning.
Sometimes in the comfort, the safety, of our home … our story feels safe … and we don’t even feel we are getting burned.
I use safe and comfort and suggest stagnancy … or standing still within the walls of what you know as an example of how you can be consumed by the fire.
Because comfortable complacency does not mean you are not safe.
Well. The house is burning for gods sake.
The fact is that this fire never goes out.
We can never stamp out this fire.
It rages off and on but is always burning.
Safety within the home of what you know is temporary.
Inevitably the fire will consume you by squeezing out what make life interesting and worthwhile. As a counterpoint to inner fire … it suffocates the fire within with the fire coming from without.
Your story burns.
Your story ends up being a burned out shell with everything within extinguished. Just ashes where a raging story once stood.
I like the thought of my story being my house … and that it is always on fire.
And while I am not a woman … the point of this quote resonates with me:
She lives her life like a flame; a dance of purposeful chaos… Her enchanting light can guide you and quell your fears… She’s hot; warming those who respect her and burning those who don’t… She is a flame with an unforgettable glow… A weak man will try to dim her luminance… but her soul mate will take pleasure in fanning the blaze.“ – Steve Maraboli
A flame with an unforgettable glow.
Whew. What a story that would be.
Let it rage <I say>.
It is a life truth that we make choices that resonate throughout our lives … but how your story is told … and maybe how it dies … may be the biggest truth.
That’s too deep for today.
Geez … all I am fairly sure of is that the Life is burning around us.
It may not be burning.
I think of words from Julianna Hatfield:
“I wrote and wrote like the house was on fire, like words and chords and melodies were going to burn up and disintegrate into the air if didn’t capture them fast enough.” – Juliana Hatfield
I love that thought.
I will write my story like the house was on fire.
I will think thoughts before they disintegrate into ash.
I will live life like the house is burning around me.
“Some men, like a tiled house, are long before they take fire, but once on flame there is no coming near to quench them.” — Thomas Fuller
Because if our Life is constantly on fire … whew … what a view we have from that upstairs window as it all burns.
“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don’t need no water, let the motherf–ker burn.”
My story. My house.
Let the motherfucker burn.
Now there’s an attitude to live by.
What’s your story?