Chronicles in Ordinary Time 19: The Power of Story

Last night I finished the last, and 100th episode of Stargate:Atlantis; not without a measure of sadness. The Story is over.  Prior to that I watched the 213 episodes of Stargate: SG-1. The better part of the sadness is the realization that I was working on my laptop during most of the episodes, so I can watch them again and still have the story be fresh.

I saw some of the SG-1 episodes when they were first aired; this was back in the time when we didn’t have a television in the house. We borrowed my Mom’s portable TV on occasion; and watched TV at her house on Sundays. Back in the early ’80’s, when I was self-employed as a building contractor, I used to watch “Cheers” and “Hill Street Blues” every Thursday night. At some point I finally realized that NBC wasn’t paying me to watch their shows; and I was turning down opportunities to bid on remodeling jobs, fearing that I might not return on time… So, the television went into the closet. When we moved to a different house, the TV did not accompany us. Our children grew up having television as a special event. They read a lot of books.

I got into this illustration gig to be a storyteller.

children's book jacket: Oregon At Last

Oregon At Last by Lillian Foreman, Scholastic Press, digitally colored graphite drawing

This is the cover of my first illustrated children’s book; one might think that people here in Oregon might be familiar with it. However, it was part of a 5th grade curriculum package for Scholastic, and they never bothered to market it in Oregon…

Back in the days when the world was in black and white, before color had been invented, I went to the bookmobile every week, and returned with a stack of books; mostly science fiction, if memory serves. The bookmobile was a mobile library. A converted bus with library shelves instead of seats, the bookmobile was used as a supplement to regional libraries. It had a regular route, and helped me get through my elementary school years. I had a small portable television in my bedroom, but there were only 5[?] channels available, and the selections weren’t necessarily interesting.

I grew up with the illustrations of Howard Pyle and NC Wyeth as well as several of their contemporaries. When I decided to do this illustration gig in the 1990’s, I envisioned following in the footsteps of Norman Rockwell. As big as my feet are, I knew I would never fill those footprints.

I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to enter the world of one of my childhood heroes, Sherlock Holmes…

A Scandal in Bohemia

A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Digitally-colored graphite drawing; copyright Steiner Korea

I continue to hope that this will be followed by another Holmes opportunity in the future, but it seems unlikely, at this point.

Stories teach us to dream; they show us what and who we can be. Music, movies, books, stories around the campfire… these are the elements that can shape our lives. Stories can lift us beyond our circumstances.

Would we have cell phones today, if not for Star Trek and Dick Tracy?





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