I share many old and new stories at home. As a family, we love to read aloud together. A habit I’ve shared and instilled in my children while they were in utero and then incubator. In those weeks and months, it was a primary bonding method — sharing my voice with them through the swooshes and beeps of life-support machines when a touch could kill them. I shared love and hope in stories. Some read, some told from memory and imagination like humans have done with each other since the dawn of language. Sharing stories is woven into the tapestry of what it means to be human. We reach for them when we need comfort and distraction through times of despair, heartache and love. We do it to treat ourselves, escape from our realities, and consider new perspectives beyond our own; we read to travel to different places, worlds, and times.
Ruthann and I share stories daily from our busy lives — her from her picturesque Texan Ranch and me from a wee North Lanarkshire village. She hails from the third largest country in the world with a population of 331 million, and I’m one of less than 5.4 million here in Scotland. We’re approximately 4.6 thousand miles apart. We’ve never met in person. These things that may have been impossible barriers to mutual creation not so many years ago are possible today. Possible, though not necessarily easy.
Isn’t that damn amazing how we managed to connect? How we’ve managed to share our lives and our stories to create rich new stories without even having shared the same bit of land, let alone the same room?
One of the wonderful things about our mutual love of particular literary genres and themes is how it connects us. We draw inspiration from one another’s stories, from our life experiences and our cultural backgrounds, our histories. Because of the richness of our retrospective backgrounds, we’re not only creating something fresh by blending passions of folklore, history and vivid storytelling. We have created a cast of characters who are as authentic as any real person. Someone you’d meet on a flight over the Atlantic, sharing a piece of their story, or someone you’ll meet in a local pub or a strange village you may find yourself a part of, where the road has forked, and a decision has to be made.
Ruthann and I have fallen in love with our characters as our creation has deepened, and they have shared their stories with us.
We are sharing our unique styles and weaving something that couldn’t have come to fruition as a solo project. Each of our perspectives and ideas has added a richness that would not have been without the other.
Creating is not a linear process for either of us. I would go as far as to say that, for more naturally creative types, doing anything ‘straight’ is not in our remit. We don’t keep the colours neatly separate. We mix media, blend, and experiment; we know where the well-trodden paths lead, and we have no desire to follow.
What’s that over there? Look!
Why hasn’t anyone gone there before?
We’re heading the other way, where there’s no path. Heading for the darkness others avoid, through the thicket, where those ominous looking birds are roosting. We are unapologetically brazen.