Telling Our Stories

Telling Our Stories

The new STORY website went live this week. The first thing I did was check the list of presenters and oh. my. goodness. the awesomeness. Anne Lamott, you guys. Anne Lamott!! I just started following her on Twitter and you cannot believe how lovely it was to read this tweet -  “One bad messy paragraph–where nothing existed before–is a small miracle. Now one more, & one more. You did it! We’ll make it better later” – on a night when the last thing I wanted to do was write. But it was like she was TALKING TO ME and she would not be refused.

Who else will be there? Makoto Fujimura. I will never be completely satisfied with my home decor until it is accented by one of his paintings. And? Bob Goff. You know him if you’ve read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He’s the guy who created a neighborhood parade that no one is allowed to watch; everyone has to be in it. And more.

After checking out the line-up, then I found some audio clips of the 2011 speakers and I listened again to the closing session with Ian Cron. His book Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me is fantastic. At STORY he mesmerized us and it happened to me again when I listened to the recording. Since Serenity just published her memoir about her cancer years and I’m chipping away at my own, these words resonated again (paraphrased and quoted non-academically here):

We all have something that stalks our histories. In what rubble field or place of devastation has God called you to push back the darkness with your art? You are an artist. You are a creative. That is a noble and high calling.

I learned in the process of writing my story . . . . how vital it is for us to sit in the places of rubble and despair of our own personal histories. Everyone in this room has a puddle of grief somewhere in your heart. You have to name the losses. We’re frightened to do this because grief is the most powerful emotion in the world. You have to describe what happened there. And only then will you be able to see the thread of grace that got you through. An artist who has not done their work in the debris field and passed through cannot be free. Tell the rest of this grieving world that there is hope.


I read Seren’s story in two days. That was partly because it was almost like reliving some of the saddest, most worry-filled days of my life and I wanted them to be over again, and partly because I kept wondering what she was going to say next about ME! : ) The Thank You Room is available for Kindle now and other devices soon. Check it out. Support an independent artist doing the beautiful work of sorting through pain for a glimpse of Jesus. He’s there, you know.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have my own debris field to walk through. (Anne would be so proud of me right now!)

9 Replies to “Telling Our Stories”

  1. When I saw today that Anne Lamott was going to be there I wailed. “Nooooo!” We will be building our new life in Cali so there is no way I could fly to Chicago. I was sad for a while, then I remembered that I will live about an hour from her. I’ve decided to stalk her. I’ve been a huge fan for years and years. Hope you get to talk to her. I am so happy for you guys!

    1. Well, “building a new life in Cali” sounds like a pretty comparable adventure to a weekend in Chicago! 🙂 Next year in Jerusalem!

  2. I haven’t had a chance to check out the line-up yet and I don’t know how I’d be able to fit another conference in this year, much less afford it. But freaking Anne Lamott! I’m going to have to figure out a way to make it happen.

  3. “Tell the rest of the world there is hope.” What a beautiful reason to write. This
    truly resonated in a very deep place in my heart. I need to get to writing too. Thanks for sharing this Felicity. By the way, can “older” people go to Story?

    1. Of course! There are people there of all ages. We kind of joked that the uniform last year was flannel shirts and beards, but there were other options as well. 🙂 I think you’d really like Bob Goff especially. Although, I’m usually surprised by someone I didn’t expect to like, so who knows!

  4. Thanks for the plug, my sistah! And oh the Ian Cron session. When he played the music and was quiet, and we were baptized in goodness. That debris field thing is golden and such an apt description. I’m so glad you’re doing it too.

    1. That’s the only bummer of the audio on the STORY site: it cuts off right before the music and the blessing! I suppose that was a copyright issue, but, oh, how I would love to hear that again. I guess I could become an Episcopalian . . .

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