Here at Javelina, we know that stories change the world. The amazing thing about a well-told story is that it invites you in. It says: “Come on into my world and see what it looks like over here”. Stories are an alluring summons into another point of view. Another point of view that can change everything.
My first love in school was history, because to me it was one big story. The War of the Roses. Henry VIII and his six wives. The Cuban Missiles Crisis. The fall of the Berlin Wall. These stories I heard in history class were so gripping that they could have been straight out of a storybook. I couldn’t believe I got to listen to stories in class and call it studying.
Perhaps one of the early stories that changed my worldview was that of a guy named Robert, who had some beef with then-King of England, James I. Robert Catesby and a band of accomplices, including a dude named Guy Fawkes, were none too happy with the King’s appointment of his 9 year old daughter Elizabeth as the Catholic head of state. So they planned to blow up the House of Lords (overreaction, much?).
Someone ratted out the plotters with an anonymous letter, and Guy Fawkes was rumbled sitting on 36 barrels of gunpowder (which is a lot) at around midnight on November 5, 1605. Even the best-laid plans go awry.
Fawkes was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered along with some of his co-conspirators. Others were killed in battle or fled. Needless to say, the plot didn’t work out so great.
In the UK, this nail-biting tale is still celebrated on the 5th of November every year – better known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night. British people gather with friends, or at their local church or school, make a big bonfire, burn a scarecrow-like reenactment of Guy Fawkes on top of it, and let off a ton of fireworks while they eat burgers and hotdogs. Growing up, it was one of my very favorite nights of the year. I’ll be honest, it was all due to the snacks and a popular firework named the “Catherine Wheel”. It had nothing to do with the gritty British history.
But it also had something to do with a really well-told story. A story that with a different ending could have redefined British history as we know it. A story that brings my favorite people together every year to celebrate. A story that was is so far removed from our lives today and yet lives on.
The point is that stories aren’t always in books. You can hear a powerful story in a movie, a TV show, a speech, a social media post, or in the fireworks exploding over your house. Powerful, life-changing stories are all around us, and they’re being written every day.
When you’re thinking of telling your own story, don’t limit yourself to the written word. You don’t have to be holding a pen to be an author. Just stop short of gunpowder.