The Magic Of Story

The Magic Of Story

I fell in love with Percy Jackson, got "Left Behind," lost myself in the passages of Hogwarts, watched nervously as Frodo crept into the Lonely Mountain, tasted the eversweet waves with Reepicheep, galloped the Phantom Stallion through the Nevada canyons. . .
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When I was young, one of the best gifts my mother gave me was a small green card that gave me access to the wonders of the grand ole' Prattville Public Library, a midcentury brick building shaded by trees and situated near the river, faithfully guarded by overgrown, thorny bushes. It was a decent size for a small town book building. Families pulled up in minivans for story time, and the cheerful sentinel of the children's "wing" was constantly bringing her greyhound dog on Thursdays. The floor was dressed in very flat and very firm green carpet in the large room, and one had to ask aloud for a key in order to use the cramped restrooms. This key was fixed on a large plastic placard as big as my head. No one doubted what you were about. I never dared unless I was quite desperate.

The Prattville Public Library sounds very commonplace to the average eye.

But the wonders were not physical. Words lept off yellowing pages into living scenes in my mind, creating a labyrinth of memories and lives inside of my very own brain. So many stories that I have never lived, but have...

I would carry my heavy stack of books into the tiled area before the front doors and sit on a long and plushy bench thing against a wall of paneled wood, too excited to delay the cracking open of mysteries untold until I hopped inside our noble grey van with the automatic doors.

I was a Boxcar kid, a Saddleclub member, a friend of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, a faithful cat in the Warrior clan. I rode the Black Stallion, racing along a deserted beach, and I climbed into a spinning treehouse time after time after time. I belonged in Narnia like nowhere else. I fell in love with Percy Jackson, got "Left Behind," lost myself in the passages of Hogwarts, watched nervously as Frodo crept into the Lonely Mountain, tasted the eversweet waves with Reepicheep, galloped the Phantom Stallion through the Nevada canyons, lost countless numbers of my fictional friends and family members to death.

I wept when little Anne died, when Prim died, and I hated Death when he took Rudy in that ashy street. I floated with Zamperini on a raft and felt my heart catch when the Nazis tapped on the wall. I have chased baby Moses along the shore and watched breathlessly as God brought creation to life. I have sat shell-shocked for hours after closing a book, sat praying to be swallowed into a story, cried tears of joy, and have dearly loved those I never met but through imagination.

Stories.

Stories have captured me, heart, soul, and mind.

Funnily enough, this past year or so, I felt like I had read all the stories worth reading. Furthermore, I became convinced that reading fictional stories was rather a waste of my time, like I could be doing more important things.

So, for the most part, I have been consuming books that gave advice and told me what to do. They were knowledge books. They did a good job of telling me how to live, of teaching me more about God.

These were good books to read, but not as a steady diet. Starved of adventure and the delight of a good story, I found out for myself what Tolkien and Lewis and all those have always preached: the power of story. The magic of it.

I believe stories contained in books, true and fictional, can speak truth and beauty to our hearts more deeply than any other medium. They do a better job than any lesson or command ever could. Jesus was constantly teaching parables. We connect with them because we live them. All of life is a story.

They don't just tell us how to be a hero but show us in living color. They play on the sacred stage of our imaginations. We mentally know many things... But stories... they are what pumps my heart.

They inspire us and encourage us and breathe a thousand lives into our one. We feel truth, feel beauty, feel the weight of sin and darkness in the sentences of a life, of a great story. Good stories capture us heart, soul, and mind, giving depth and experience to our lives. We know this: If you want to impassion people for a cause, don't just give them the graphics of poverty in a city; tell them a story, introduce them to a person.

We all may be called living stories, breathing books.

As I gave story a chance again, as I dove into fiction, I found out my imagination had become a little dusty and rusty. To some extent, I pushed back against plot lines and stared cynically at pages. In my time of exile from the land of stories, I realized that I had stopped believing in real heroes and villains, my imagination a little too shaped to the opinions of my professors and colleagues. I had been finding it harder and harder to eek out awe for beauty, to stop that hand from reaching for that phone.

You can shout a hundred different opinions and truths from the rooftops. You can know a million things.

But it is story that holds our hearts, that shapes our beliefs. The story of our lives. The story we are always telling ourselves. The stories of those around us. Stories in books and in songs and on screens. The stories that the media are always telling.

And don't forget the Instagram stories.

Our imagination is shaped by all these, and it is central to our very core. We must guard it with our lives and nurture it with every breath, every choice.

To thrive on this planet of words, in this age of information, to live, we must ceaselessly read and tell and preach to ourselves the Greatest Story Ever Told. The pages of this story have been flying since the dawn of time. We are all in it, you, me, the cashier at Walmart, Churchill. All our stories are intertwined to form a larger.

The ornate pages of this great book are stained with violence, with war and betrayal. But there is so much beauty too. The pages are stained with the blood and love of the son of the great author. He gave His son up to Death for 3 days that we might stay in the story, that we might follow him on into eternity and begin "Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

A few things pushed me to write this post.

One: because of a book I am reading called "Living the Braveheart Life" that made me realize that I had become cynical of heroes and numb to the power of story. I was reading it this evening under swaying pine trees and felt a call, a whisper.

The second reason is all the inspiring fiction I have read lately.

And the third.. I was listening to end of The Dawn Treader on audio. The scene on the sand at the edge of Aslan's country has long been one of my favorites in literature. Aslan has just told Lucy and Edmund that they can't enter his country now and will never return to Narnia, and my heart aches with them.

“Oh, Aslan,' said Lucy. 'Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?'
'I shall be telling you all the time,' said Aslan. 'But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.”

The Bridge Builder. The Sunrise Painter. The Savior. The Shepherd. The Storyteller. The Storywriter.

I believe Lewis writes it down in A Horse and His Boy...

"HE seems to be at the back of all the stories."

Therein lies the magic.

Cover Image Credit: Joshua Bradford

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23 Times We Fell In Love With Nathan Scott From 'One Tree Hill'

Always and forever everyone's favorite basketball player.
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Throughout "One Tree Hill," everyone has their favorites, but there is no character like Nathan Scott. Right from the start he makes his way into our hearts, but throughout the nine incredible seasons his character never disappoints. Here are a few of the times where #23 made our hearts stop.

1. "Pilot"

Well obviously, the first moment you see the tall, handsome man with dark features... you're hooked. Although this is Nathan's egotistical self, he's still pretty to look at.

2. "Are You There?"

It was only episode three where Nathan set the bar on pickup lines with his, "Don't say I never gave you anything," speech to Haley. He gave her a bracelet I'm sure only a five-year-old would wear regularly. But if it was a gift from him, I'd never take it off either.

3. "Every Night Is Another Story"

Love at first sight! Nathan Scott is shirtless. Need I say more? He's also kinda cute when he's embarrassed. (Don't worry. You are too, Lucas).

4. "The Search For Something More"

"You shouldn't have done that Nathan."

"I wanted to."

"Dare You to Move" blasts in the background as we see Naley in the making. Yes.

5. "I Shall Believe"

Nathan swallows his pride and visits his brother (whom he still hates at the time) at the hospital after his accident. He just happens to be there when Lucas opens his eyes for the first time.

6. "To Wish Impossible Things"

The boy-toy auction. I'm not OK.

7. "The Games That Play Us"

"But my heart says, 'Just forget about your pride, you idiot. You love this girl, and even if you're going to catch pneumonia, your ass is going to stand out here in the rain until you convince her to forgive you.'"

OK Nathan, be more perfect. I dare you.

8. "The Desperate Kingdoms Of Love"

I have no words. I'd marry him at 17, too.

9. "The Hero Dies In This One"

When our nightmare becomes reality and Haley leaves with Chris Keller to work on her music. Our hearts both grow and break for Nathan.

10. "Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows"

My heart.

11. "An Attempt To Tip The Scales"

Haley's back, Nathan's still mad. But, he does come to her rescue as just about the hottest Batman ever.

12. "How Resurrection Really Feels"

Nathan travels with Chris to win back Haley's demo that Chris lost in a poker game. Working with the person he hates most to get back the reason Haley left him in the first place... That's love.

13. "The Wind That Blew My Heart Away"

Nathan admits to Haley that he's been keeping track of her musical journey the whole time she was away because he was low-key proud of her. He deserves that rain kiss for being so perfect.

And in the same episode...

14. "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept"

During the most devastating episode (in my opinion), Nathan runs back into the school to make sure Haley is safe from the shooter.

15. "Everyday Is A Sunday Evening"

"You got nothin', Scott!"

Not breathing.

16. "Everyday Is A Sunday Evening"

And just when we thought this episode couldn't get any better...

Yes, Nathan, you are sexy.

17. "The Show Must Go On"

We fall more in love with Nathan when he risks his own life on his wedding day to save crazy Rachel and his uncle, Cooper. So heroic. So amazing.

18. "I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness"

Nathan gets a full ride to Duke University, his dream school, but later learns Haley is pregnant. He doesn't run off, in fact he says he couldn't be happier.

19. "Resolve"

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but our man knew that. He needed money, so why not put on the best show there is? Although he wasn't the best dancer, I'm not complaining.

20. "For Tonight You're Only Here To Know"

After Quentin Fields's death, Nathan realizes how hard it must be for his son, Jamie. He does his best to be a good father and comfort him. Their father / son relationship makes our hearts melt throughout the series.

21. "Remember Me As A Time Of Day"

Nathan finally makes it to the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats and we all couldn't be more proud (and in love with him).

22. "One Tree Hill"

It's the oldest story in the world, one day you're planning a future with your significant other, and then you realize Nathan Scott exists, and this is your life. You're lying if you say you aren't in love with him.

23. "Danny Boy"

And let us never forget when Nathan comes home just in time for the series finale. Literally one of the best moments in "One Tree Hill" history.

Nathan Scott, you are my hero. Literally.

Cover Image Credit: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_5NeBdwXT6KOtNeMmI5cACBYS6FryTsypc4l3kqVc47wm2j_J1rJjppAXKSiTAcsc8CAuQ=s113

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After 'Extremely Wicked' And 'The Stranger Beside Me,' We Now Understand The Criminal Mind Of Ted Bundy

1 hour and 50 minutes, plus 550 pages later.

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Netflix recently released a movie in May called "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile" (2019), based on the life of Ted Bundy from his girlfriend's viewpoint.

In 1980, an author and former Seattle police officer, Ann Rule, published a book about her experience and personal, close friendship with Ted Bundy, called "The Stranger Beside Me."

These two sources together create an explosion of important information we either skim over or ignore about Ted Bundy. Watching this movie and reading this book can really open your eyes to who Ted Bundy really was. Yeah, there are the confession tapes on Netflix, too, but these other things can really tie it all into one big masterpiece of destruction.

I swear, it will blow your mind in different ways you never thought possible.

In the movie, "Extremely Wicked", Zac Efron stars as the infamous Ted Bundy, America's most notorious serial killer. He portrayed the murderer who kidnapped, killed, and raped 30 women or more. Personally, he made a great Ted Bundy, mannerisms and all. Lily Collins stars as Ted's girlfriend who was easily manipulated by Ted and believed that he was innocent for years.

The movie is told in the order that Liz, Ted's girlfriend, remembers.

In the book, "The Stranger Beside Me", Ann Rule writes about Ted Bundy, who used to be her old friend. They met while working at a crisis center in the state of Washington and were close ever since. Like Liz, Ann believed he was innocent and that he was incapable of these horrific crimes.

Ted Bundy had made both Liz and Ann fools. He easily manipulated and lied to both women about many things for years, his murders being "one" of them.

Okay, so we all know that Ted Bundy was absolutely guilty as hell and totally murdered those women. 30 women or more. He literally confessed to that, but researchers and authorities believe that number to be way higher.

But... you must know that the movie and the book tell two different stories that lead to the same ending. That's why it's so intriguing.

At one point, I couldn't stop watching the movie. Then, I bought Ann Rule's book and was completely attached to it. I couldn't put it down.

For me, Ted Bundy is interesting to me. Unlike most young girls today, I don't have a thing for him nor do I think he's cute or hot. I know that he used his charm and looks to lure women into his murderous trap. That's why it's so hard to understand why this movie and book created a new generation of women "falling in love" with Ted Bundy.

GROSS: He sodomized women with objects. He bludgeoned women with objects or his own hands. He was a necrophile. Look those up if you have not a clue of what they mean. That could change your mind about your own feelings for Ted Bundy.

After "Extremely Wicked" and "The Stranger Beside Me", I now understand the criminal mind of Ted Bundy. He was insane, but he was also smart, put together, educated, charming, and lots more. That's why I'm so interested in why his brain was the way it was.

The criminal mind is an interesting topic for me anyway, but for Ted Bundy, it was amazing to learn about.

I highly recommend both the movie and the book I quickly read in two weeks! If you want answers, they are there.

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