What Makes a Story Worth Telling?

I just watched Nick Cave's very myopic movie "20,000 Days on Earth"- I LOVED it!!! If you don't like Nick Cave you would probably find it extremely irritating at best. It could be interpreted as narcissistic I suppose. I was captivated by his music the first time I saw "Wings of Desire"- not music I would hang out and listen to ordinarily but in a particular context I find it hypnotizing. When I saw the Leonard Cohen tribute film "I'm Your Man" I saw a different side of him and found him not only fascinating as a musician but as a person- eloquent and thoughtful.
So I was very excited for this film to come out and was deeply disappointed not to be able to see it at the time. I was so happy when I saw tonight that it was on Amazon Prime. My TV is hooked up to a great stereo so it was perfect.

I was so taken by it within the first 30 seconds or so that I grabbed a notebook and began taking notes. It was so meaty and I knew that I would quickly forget much of what struck me.

Some of the things I wrote down (and some slightly adapted for the purpose of this blog):
      Wonderfully myopic film by/about Nick Cave. I am haunted by his music. His father [said to him after a concert] "You are like an angel."
      Thoughtful, beautifully eloquent
      Biggest fear "Losing my memory... because memory is what we are."
      "Those moments when the gears of the heart really change."
     He was talking about daredevil stunts they used to do as kids and I thought, My childhood was thwarted by fear.
     Before you go on stage you don't know how you're going to do it. It seems impossible. Then something happens when you get on the stage. Everything else falls away.

Here is where I have to interject and put in my two cents worth. He is talking about the transformation that happens for the performer and by virtue of that to the audience, and he tells a story about Nina Simone- a concert where he opened up for her and she was raging before the concert- angry and demanding, the impression of someone snarling like an animal and scaring everyone around her. She comes out on stage and she walks up to the edge of the stage and stares the audience down. Then she goes and sits down at the piano, takes her gum out of her mouth, sticks it on top of the piano and pounds on the keys... And then she goes through this total transformation, and she is loving what she is doing. She connects with the audience, they connect with her. Everyone is completely blown away. This is his example of the transformative power of the stage, where everything else disappears and for a little while you can forget who you are.

Here is where I disagree- maybe it's just a matter of semantics. I'm not sure- but my take on this is that, first of all, this is like life. In fact, this is life. So many things that we are faced with- and we say, "Nope, I can't do this one. Too much. Too big. No can do." But it's one of those situations we can't walk away from- whether it's because it's our calling and our vocation, whether it is an obligation that we must fulfill. Doesn't matter. We're there and we have to walk through because we're in it for the long haul. And when we step into it- like stepping on the stage- we remember who we are and why we are here and there is no question that, Yes- I can do this! In fact many times we don't even think about it because there is no choice to be made. We feel the fear, we acknowledge it (or not) and we step up to the plate, and all the other stuff just falls away because we have just met our true calling. Not necessarily in terms of our life's work, nothing so grandiose, but for that moment, for that situation our job is to be present and to handle whatever is in our face. Could be a job interview, could be a sick child, could be a performance... it's whatever our fear is in the moment. Every moment, every choice. That is our life.

This movie is about self-exploration. It's about calling up and honoring the ghosts of the past. Our life doesn't become a story until we tell it. When we are in it, it just seems chaotic and confused. It's in the telling that it becomes a story.

What makes a story worth telling? If it has value to us, then it is a story worth telling. Maybe we just need to find the right person to tell it to. I told my therapist today that I was there to untangle the threads of the past. That's what I feel like this movie is doing and maybe that is why I was so moved by it. That and the fact that the cinematography and the sound- not just his music but the accompanying sound- is absolutely brilliant.