venerdì 23 settembre 2011

Storytelling: Empty Pages

Shane used to be proud of his great mind. Since he was a kid, he always felt it would be his greater strength, the one thing that would've set him apart from the rest of the world. And with time, it had become his very own source of spiritual energy.

There was an addiction, a positive one, loying within the lines of creativity. It felt the soul with juices that couldnt be provided by pretty much anything else. You could climb mountains and be a legendary lover and that would be an impressive achievement but non of those things would give Shane the strange, alluring hit of adrenaline, the sense of completion, the delirious quenching of an eternal thirst that creating a story and lettiung it live gave him.

It was like mak,ing something that grew and had a life of its own. As close as he, as a man and a loner, could get to having children. And yet different. Gtting down a moment of complete utter beauty, something that is perfect because you just know it is and theres no way to explain it, but you just know it is. Nailing the right sentences, weave them together, until they become something that walks and moves and pulsates. And most of everything has emotions and gives emtions. There was nothing in the whole universe like that. His heart was a hole that onlly a flow of words could fill.

Yet, like all addictions, Shane knew that there could be a moment of withdrawal. And he was hitting one.

At times, life gest the best of a creative soul. Despair, anger, fuckups and disappointments hit that heart and mind hard. Shane took everything until he just dried up. And the pills who were supposed to calm down the screaming dogs that barked inside his head, just silenced everything and made his soul an empty room. no ideas. No genius. Nothing at all. Sanity and peace had a baggage called eternal sleep of the gods of creativity.

And that hurt. In a weird way. he knew he was supposed to be better and live a more normal life. But somehow he wanted the insanity back. He needed the relelntless drive that writing gave him. He eneded to tell stories. He needed to lack sleep or hunger, because all that fed him was his own violently absuive muse. And yet he knew that woudlve been his own death. Too many times he had to face rejection for his creations, the lull of realizing that out of a million people like him, one or two actually make something of their creations. And the rest just fades away.

He had to survive. But he wanted the creativity back. To fill up empty pages. To see them go on and live. Yet every time he tried, nothing acame up. He forced the ideas out but thery just werent there. His mind was dead. The pages stayed empty and stared back at him with vacant eyes.

As time went by, he tried to get over it, like he did with everything else. He tried to fill the hole by having a cause. He had seen his mother die after fighting for years with Alzheimer. He saw her deteriorate and become a beast of incoherence and madness. Back then hius own demons had eaten up all his ability to care or help. Now it was time to atone. Never again he would've let someone loose his past like that. Not without doing something.

He volunteered at an institute for Alzheimer patients. The illness erased those people's minds like a cancer of the soul. It ate their memories and personalities away, leaving them like empty babbling shells that could only be taken care of. It was horrifying.

One day, a blue eyed lady named Loretta, just like his mother, was staring at Shane while he was bathing her. She was far gone at that point. She used to be a painter. A creative, like him. Had no family.

She asked him questions. About him. ABout herslef. About the world. ANd like a strange marvelous coincidence, it just happened. Shane, without even thinking about it, started making up a new life for her. He told her stories about who she was. Made her a character. Made a different life for her, a different world. Made her something new and beautiful. And that soemhow gave her happiness.

And started something in him.

From that day, Shane became a storyteller again. He made the patients his new living characters. Hye gave them love stories, tragedies, funny tales, heroic ones. He helped them by giving them new lives. And watched them as they made thos stories grow by making them their own. How the characters interacted with each others, changed the stories, created new ones.

At first the other nurses, and the few relatives who really cared about those people were puzzled. But that weird serendipity of creation and compassion had actually made the patients happy. They wanted one thing, to have memories. And where their heads or medicine could not help, Shane came in and created them.

And for a few, there was a world thata ctually wo0rked. If only in their hearts, for a little while. And the stories kept growing, and living and changing. And for some time they would be remembered.

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