That is where we all gather. Little vendors and big vendors- and some almighty vendors- gathered thick around this little town square that is the world we live in. We are all buyers and we are all sellers and our wares and our currencies are one and the same.
Like hungry birds of carrion, we circle each other, harvesting what we can, chewing it through and spitting words in our wake. Stories are born and made and carefully crafted in this marketplace, bought and sold and recycled, used and re-used and shuffled and mixed until we have an entirely new batch. Grain after grain is subtly changed from one telling to the other, and sometimes emotions run high and battles are fought and lost as these tremendous creations are pitched against one another.
Like dragons in the night sky, they roar and and shake the very foundations of the earth. But the very foundations of the earth are also just that- stories- so there is no winning or losing, just reshuffling and retelling, and perhaps once every few millennia, an entirely new story.
It’s why we crave to know about people’s lives. Sometimes, their stories sound prettier than ours, so we change them in the retelling, making ourselves sound a little bit nicer, a little bit more noble, a little bit more wonderful, and making them sound a little less… everything. We are not chasing success- god no. We are chasing the story of success.
We are chasing the story of the perfect life and the perfect family and the perfect lover and the perfect child and the perfect body. We are not chasing the perfect life or the perfect family or the perfect lover or the perfect child or the perfect body. In fact we might sometimes unwittingly find each of these- poor fools that we are- and back away shaking our heads because, well, they do not fit into the perfect story! And the story is what matters.
I never tell you who I am. I tell you the story of who I am, as I want to tell it. You will never ask me who I am either because you want to believe what I have so conveniently put on a platter for you. It’s easier. Part of the fun is in the wondering- how many layers does this story have? Is there even a grain of truth? Was there ever?
This marketplace of stories I live and walk and breathe in every morning and evening and night- do I know what it is? Dare I ask? Its biggest trade and biggest secret lies not in the haggling stall-keepers- but in the very tales I tell my own soul. I am the seller and I am the buyer and every day I spin new wonders to entrance myself. Every day I weep and laugh and gasp with shock, and god knows I am tired.
I know merely this story that I have told myself often enough that it glimmers like truth- the story of my past and the story of my future and the story of my grand ambition and world changing heroics and adventure and madness. And I believe it. It was such stories that tempted pirates and martyrs and treasure seekers through the ages to forgotten ends… the stories themselves dissolving into their own mirage.
And of reality? What tale is that? There is no room for it in this marketplace.
It’s bad for business.