Small stories – Micayla Lally

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By Micayla Lally

I have stories in my head. I ignored them for a while but since I started taking myself seriously as a writer, I’ve stopped ignoring them. I like my stories, nay, I love them. I fall in love with my heroes and I feel deeply for my heroines. They don’t always make good choices, in fact they often make bad ones. As I sit writing, I sometimes gasp out loud or curse them for their stupidity. But hey, nobody is perfect.♥

When I finally type out my characters’ lives and finish a novel, there’s a sense of accomplishment, but also, inevitably, emptiness. Until the next characters come alive and I pick up my pen again. And yet.

Is what I’m doing important? Is it meaningful? Does it make a difference? Yes, no, maybe? Yes. Yes. Yes? These are questions that plague us as writers. It is important to me, it’s meaningful to me, it makes a difference to me. And if me, then perhaps others?

I write what I know and what I want to know. It’s not always a pressing social issue, but I like to think that even though I’m not skewering social injustice, my stories provide a small diversion from the things we can’t escape.

I think and worry about a lot of things, and while I retweet the ACLU and donate money to causes close to my heart, I can’t weigh myself down with all the things I’m not doing to effect change in a complex society. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed!

So I write about someone else’s problems. They become my problems, and they are things that I’m in control of and can figure out, eventually. Meg Ryan summed it up perfectly in “You’ve Got Mail” when she said “valuable, but small.” Small doesn’t mean inconsequential.

Somewhere, I can make someone laugh when my characters say something witty, or I can make them cry when they fall in love with someone I’ve written. If that distracts them or helps them unwind from a long day, then good, they can go back refreshed and my characters will be waiting for them next time.

Maybe something in my stories will give someone a new perspective, or give them an idea for their own adventure; that’s not small and it is valuable. Stories are valuable in their own right, not just as teachable moments. Stories don’t have to be real, they don’t even have to be realistic; we can make our stories whatever we need them to be.

Meg Ryan also said that “so much of life reminds me of something I read in a book…” For me, a lot of things remind me of something I’ve written in a book. It only says that books are valuable to us whether reading or writing them; they are important and meaningful, and they make a difference no matter how big or small.

Micayla Lally is the author of the contemporary romance novel, A Work of Art (May 2, 2017; She Writes Press). Originally from Australia, Micayla now resides in Oregon with her husband and their three boys. In her spare time, Micayla can be found writing, sewing, or reading into the wee hours of the night.

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