the power of small stories

I believe in the power of small stories.

In this ever-connected social media world, we peek into people’s lives from the outside, with the focus on their red-letter days: the life-changing events, the adventurous trips, the thrilling announcements. It’s oh so easy to compare our stories and find ourselves wanting, to feel that our lives aren’t interesting enough and that we have nothing to say.

Yet our lives are not defined by bright, exciting events. It’s the stretches of time in between that matter- the little instants, the quiet moments and the daily choices that make us who we are.

I used to feel that my voice wasn’t worth hearing and my story wasn’t worth telling.  I was a new mother, with a baby and a toddler. My days were a hazy cycle of nappies and milk, of singing in circles at toddler groups and standing in parks for hours. Time was for me demarcated by the number of cups of coffee going cold, by nap times and bath times, long days and sleepless nights. My traveling days were behind me, as were my studies, and the satisfaction I had felt from my work. The routines of daily life became stultifying, and I felt that I had nothing whatsoever of interest to say.

Everything changed for me when I discovered the world of blogs. In my spare moments, during naptimes, or late at night, my laptop and I took a journey into an unknown world. I found corners of the internet that women like me had claimed for their own. Corners where they were capturing their lives with words and with pictures, starting conversations with other bloggers and readers. Thanks to these women, I opened my eyes and saw the world afresh. I picked up my camera for the first time in years, and tentatively began a creative journey that led me back to myself, starting with my own small stories.

I learned to notice and to capture with my camera the little moments that lit me up, that inspired, intrigued, surprised or delighted me. In time, I started my own blog and my first post told the story of a neighbour’s apple tree, seen from my bedroom window, laden with fruit, a tree which had reminded me of the fairy tale in which Rapunzel’s mother gazes at the forbidden fruits of the garden next door. One day, unexpectedly, the neighbour to whom the tree belonged gave me a basket of apples, and I baked a cake with the longed-for fruit. It was the smallest, simplest story, but it was mine, and it was true.

It’s the truth, I have learned, that draws people into a story. The tiniest tale can be incredibly powerful when it’s shared with honesty and even vulnerability. It’s the details, relationships and infinitesimal moments of our lives that make us human and unique. A small story told truly will always have more power than a grandiose narrative told without heart.

Everyone has tales to tell. Sometimes it can take courage to find the voice with which to tell them, but I believe in the power of small stories. I believe in the power of your stories.

If you have enjoyed this post, and you’d like to receive my monthly letter, Small Stories, you can sign up here.

If you’d like to find out more about storytelling, perhaps you’d like to join me for one of my storytelling E-courses.

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  • Thank you for your insightful explanation both of our lives as we undertake new motherhood – discovering a fresh insight into ourselves: and for indicating each special moment is a short story worthy of repeating to give others pleasure. 60 years on from my early days as a mother what you say rings so true. How I wish I could have found an identity and pleasure through blogging! I am delighted it is there for you – my dear grand-daughter! With all my love always!

    • Hi Susan, Did you receive an email from me? There should be a link to click which will allow you to download the E-book. Do let me know if not, and I can re-send it. Best wishes, Laura