Christmas: If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.

by Bob Schwartz

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.”
Chinua Achebe

This is a season of stories. Every season is a season of stories, but this one in particular. There is a Jewish story about a band of rebels who reclaim and rededicate their Temple. There is the Christian story of a child born to teach and to save everything.

Those stories are told and interpreted in different ways from different perspectives. The stories may enlighten and uplift people. They may also lead to unanswered questions and unresolved conflicts, some of them damaging and tragic.

The thought from novelist Chinua Achebe is not limited to writers. We are all storytellers. Joan Didion wrote “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” You may or may not believe the various stories about Christmas and its aftermath and consequences. You are not only free to choose from the stories. You are free and encouraged to tell your own.

Some will properly note that this can be problematic. There are such things as facts and we cannot tell those facts away. Gravity operates everywhere on our planet and you cannot tell it away. But if you want to tell stories about animals defying gravity or about people defying gravity or breaking the bounds of gravity, those are both facts and visions. All parts of stories you might tell. Still, not acknowledging gravity as you actually stand on the precipice of a high cliff, without wings, parachute or rocket pack, is dangerous.

So embrace and tell the versions of the Christmas story, and be enlightened and uplifted by them. This Christmas begs us to believe in a new possibility that begins with something as simple as the birth of a baby. Tell your own stories if you are so inclined. No one should stop you.

If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.