Stories are water for me. If I were to find myself on my death bed tomorrow, I would push harder for somebody to be by my side and reading to me than I would for my IV bag to be changed or my monitoring equipment to be hooked up. for a teller of tales to be right next to me at the twilight of my life, I would sacrifice everything down to my rustiest penny in full just for the service. I cannot go a day without a tale, and I haven’t been able to since I was a child.
Over the course of my childhood, I had two things that ensured a steady and daily supply of stories. One was a mother who was a librarian, the other was the advent of the internet. Most of my first stories were true. I would spend days lost in the tomes of Dorling Kindersley, learning about the world past and present through their rich illustrations and informative yet easily digestible descriptive texts—or HG Well’s The Outline of History. It was actually really hard to get me to read fiction. The land of make-believe simply did not interest me all that much, and that a lie could speak truth was not something I understood until I was thirteen years old.
It was that year that I was introduced to the novel Downsiders by Neal Shusterman. It was a book about a group of people who lived in a secret community underneath New York City. Their lives were richly detailed and their dark but cozy existence was incredibly immersive and relatable for an introverted boy the same age as the protagonist. Also, their conflict—and rare interaction—with the world above teased the brain and lit the candle of a very important idea: while human history afforded me a vast amount of perspective and information as to how we might advance as a species and make a better story for tomorrow, it’s still finite. Within fiction, societies could be built, reach their zenith, fall, or be reborn all within the space of a few years. Entire cultures could exist and sing their songs through eternity without having to be substantiated by an archaeological dig or museum exhibit.
Since then, my favorite stories have all been ones in which the setting itself was a tantalizing character. Indeed, it could probably be said that if it wasn’t, I would find a way to make it one in my head. And at the end of it, even if I was full of it, I would lay awake into the wee hours of the morning imagining these imaginary worlds and all their possibilities.
For many years however, the prospect of creating societies and their histories, myths, and legends wasn’t something that I was willing to engage in with much gusto. I’d dabble in it, but would always abandon my efforts long before they bore any particular juicy fruits. I was unwilling to give back to the noosphere of ideas that I had so often drawn from and greedily drank like Augustus Gloop drank from Willy Wonka’s chocolate river. I could sit here and try to give you some emotionally compelling reason for my persistent refusal, but it really just boils down to me being a very lazy person and perhaps also somewhat greedy.
However, my ever-patient husband has seen the little scraps I’ve been willing to produce here and there, and he has been pressing me for years to break the shyness of sharing these with the world. So this year, after the end of my last sporadic contract of employment, I elected to forgo another and try to devote myself fully to giving back to the pool of tales. This site—finally launched in the second month of the experiment—is an accompaniment to that. There will be stories here to be sure and also the random tangents about life, the universe, and everything that my brain dances me through when I’m trying to sleep.
I hope you’ll enjoy, and I hope you’ll stay by my fire. Because I could sit here forever and it could get lonely without you.