This newsletter, about the power, craft, and people of storytelling, is crowdsourced from our 260+ Free-For-All Book Club members.
If you find or create an article, quote, passage, or anything else worth sharing with other storytellers, send me an email, and I will archive your submission for future use.
Let’s get to it! :)
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
"I learned early that crying out in protest could accomplish things. My older brothers and sister had started to school when, sometimes, they would come in and ask for a buttered biscuit or something and my mother, impatiently, would tell them no. But I would cry out and make a fuss until I got what I wanted. I remember well how my mother asked me why I couldn't be a nice boy like Wilfred; but I would think to myself that Wilfred, for being so nice and quiet, often stayed hungry. So early in life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise."
—The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
“Thermodynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing.
"And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle.
"But...if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!.
"Yes. Anybody in the world. ..But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another's vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away. Come...dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home.”
—Alan Moore, Watchmen
Most of the signals we send will sound like noise, but that does not mean we should not send them anyway.
Think of a conception as a radio broadcast. Although most of its noisy tadpole brethren die along the way, the one sperm that successfully sends its signal wins. The egg and the sperm then create a self-sustaining, two-way, human radio tower, able to send and receive its own signals, and create even more self-sustaining, two-way, human radio towers. Clearly, one really good signal can not only make up for all the signals lost along the way but can even be powerful enough to drown out the noise (or use that noise to more effectively get what we want… which makes that noise a signal).
Once we are born, we all go on this journey from receiving no signals, weak signals, or wrong signals… to accidentally sending or receiving a strong signal for the first time… to figuring out how, why, and from where the signal was sent… to sending and receiving the signal on purpose…
Humans are literally and figuratively built out of connections between two or more things. These connections can only happen when you are intentionally sending and receiving signals. And so, what I guess I’m trying to say is… let’s f*ck!
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