This time was different. My lecturer didn’t explain the English legal ramifications of finding a decomposing snail in a bottle of ginger beer – a bottle which you hadn’t bought yourself. This of course would give rise to a fascinating question – how can the manufacturer be liable without a contract of sale? Did I grab your attention? I thought not. I digress.
|Armada Portrait: Picture in the Public Domain|
At my university desk, I was starting a short course on writing historic fiction – but you probably guessed that already. I wanted some like minded camaraderie while I write my novel “Eternity”, a quirky story set in the 1920’s. I felt at home at my new desk – I belonged. And to my astonishment I was taught some hard facts which fascinated me:
“history noun. Known before 1393 as historie: story, legend, biography... borrowed from old French histoire, and old Latin historia meaning narrative, account, tale, story...” - Chamber’s Dictionary of Etymology.
So it seems the word history evolved from the words for stories. The first historians were story tellers – history began with story-telling. History is the subject of the story teller.
In the same way Chamber’s Dictionary of Etymology cites the same Latin word “historia” in the history of the word “story”, and also cites “probably before 1200—storie historical narrative or writing”.
I now have a much clearer understanding of who I am and why. I love history, and I love stories – both reading and telling. I loved history because of my love for stories. I’m attracted to feature article writing because I love telling stories – true stories in that instance. This blog is in a sense a story – the story of life’s journey. My love for history doesn’t belong in academia, dissecting the facts and interpreting the “witness statements” in the same way as I would have done when a reluctant lawyer. I’m more than capable of doing that, but it will never make me happy. My love for history belongs in the stories, taking that interpretation one stage further, and making it live again. Had I lived in a by – gone age, I would have been one of those early story tellers of history. In a sense when we write the news and feature articles today, we are creating historical documents – telling stories which will become the history of the future. A love of history and a love of story-telling share the same roots, and those roots are inside of me – with many stems.
My own character drew me to all the separate disciplines necessary for telling good stories – the English language, history and psychology. Following my loves led me to the thing I was born to do. For the first time ever I relished completing my homework – a Victorian short story involving a cellar, a fife and a dead housemaid... a Victorian story based on real reported facts.
What were you born to do? Have your own instincts led you there? Why not leave a comment and share your story? My readers and I would love to hear from you – you know we love stories!
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