“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


here's how stories work

the ever-wonderful michael was telling me about this thing that happened, and that's because, well, remember? he said, that she is married to that guy? and this happened?, and then a while back when that was going on, there was this kid who . . . and his grandfather bought him this toy airplane, and he was friends with another kid, and did i ever mention that they moved across the street from these people who . . . ? and all those stories were separate from one another, but not really, they just looked that way on the surface, they were really all tied together, because that's how stories work, at least stories in conversations, stories told by real people.

that's what i think i do.  at least that's what i try to do.  i start out telling you the story of painting the front room at work, and that reminds me of what i felt when i was buying the paint, the paint was yellow, honey colored, and that reminded me of autumn, and i remembered what i felt when i was standing in the paint store, waiting while the paint was mixed, lots of time for thinking and looking out the windows at the leaves falling away from trees, at the different blue of the sky, lots of time for remembering last autumn and where i would have been on a saturday morning, lots of time for wondering if my need to paint a few walls was a working out the grief i still feel for maggie-the-cat, remembering that's what i did when my father died, not comparing the two deaths, just thinking about how people deal with grief and moving on, which is not the same thing as "getting over it", it's just moving to a different place in the grief.  and i move from that thought back to autumn, which always gives me the blues, just not outside the window, and really it is late autumn that makes me feel this way; early autumn is just a phrase here in east texas, just a mellowing of summer, and i think about the leaves leaving, the turning away from the world that we all do; we go inside, even here where it doesn't get all that cold ~ it gets cold enough ~ and i remember that that night is turn-back-the-clocks-night, an earlier darkness now, and i move from that thought back to maggie, back to my father, and i am filled with missing.  when i get in the jeep, i cry, still thinking about it all, all those separate stories, but ~ and here's the thing ~ i stop crying.  i move on.  i get going.  i stop by my mother's house and she feeds me homemade soup and i tell her my thoughts, and she tells me her dream, which is another piece to the same story, another feeling of missing, of melancholy, and when i get in the jeep to leave, i cry again.  but ~ and here's the thing ~ i stop crying.  i move on.  i get going.  there is a newly painted room outside this door to prove it.

but i feel the need to tell you the story - tell it to you like we were sitting in my mother's house, a bowl of soup in front of us, a conversation between us.  there are people who will tell you they painted a room, and maybe they'll tell you the color, and that will be it, that will be their story.  it is not my story. 

remember when? i will say,
and then this happened,
and that thing we were talking of?  
. . . yes, yes, that too . . .



  1. Yes, we cry, we move on, we cry some more and move on and keep moving on until the tears dry but the memories linger. Grief has it's own time schedule, so good that you have this gift to help yourself and others through it.

  2. debi darlin', you just go on and tell it like it is.

    your tellin' abilities, they's righteous.

    we non-anonymous gals needs y'alls point of view.

    keep them stories a comin'.

    we'll be sure to come on back.

    xxoo and smooches to you on your dee-vine birthday!

  3. yes, because you ARE a storyteller, you are, and everyone knows the best stories have at least a little bit of tragedy, for crying out loud, that's life.
    and that is how stories happen, how life happens, and there are no rules about stories, no rules about life, really, it happens the way it happens and then it is what it is.
    and i love your stories, always.
    and my word verification is: criesu ha!

  4. I came over here from reading your name on everyones' list and I got tangled in your stories and the very poignant way you tell them. Thank you for being courageous enough and to open yourself like this. Very brave,

  5. Life is like those conversations. Everything gets interwoven and mixed together and all comes out a blur. A blur of multiple memories!

  6. I love how stories of everyday intertwine and can be so rich.

  7. thanks for explaining that, but personally i already had it all figured out....

    i wouldn't be coming here day after day if you didn't tell your stories the way you do :)
    ok, i would. because i love your photos, too.

    my hubby always laughs and asks me to continue my stories i tell him while he holds my hands still. and i can't. i talk with my hands.

    maybe that's why my stories lack what yours are filled of. i can't use my hands and type at the same time.

    or maybe i just suck at storytelling.


  8. i like your story very much, and all you ponder about while just buying paint.
    i was drawn to your blog via emily's hush of the moon site the other day. i have decided that this is a nice place to hang out.

  9. love the rolls of ribbon...that says it for me ..rolls of stories ..what a gift to have and give ..thanks

  10. yes .. that is it exactly ... love.

  11. your autumn story sounds so much like my autumn story yet it is so different yet it is the same.
    I totally love how you tell your stories. I wish to sit beside you and make our own story yet why need I when you are right here, ready to tell your story and I can feel its magic within me, feel its comfort, see the angels all around?

  12. gosh, your words are so beautiful and the way you put them together magical. lovely story.

  13. I love the ramblings of storytelling when friends get together. Sometimes we'll be talking about one thing then 10 minutes later we'll stop and say "how did we get on THIS topic"? I love the flow of our minds and our stories. Beautiful post as always Debi.

  14. Yes.
    You have depth.
    Well, I suppose we all have depth, but it is your ability to put it into these beautiful phrases that we can all relate to that makes you so special.
    I sometimes wish my mind worked the way you write. Sometimes, when I read your words, I feel like all this time, I have been missing out on so much...why don't I pay as much attention to my inner world as I do the outer world? Then again, maybe I do...but I'm just not consciously aware of it. Yeah, I think that's what it is.


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