Stories That Move Too Fast

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Stories have changed. I listened to stories my grandmother told me. Family stories, but stories nonetheless. Words crafted through inflection, intonation, pauses, unique voices, language-Spanish for us, and sometimes even songs. Words held in the air after they’ve been spoken as they traveled to listening ears. Some documented, but most absorbed into memory either to be retold or forgotten.

Stories have changed. I enjoy lingering over the words in a book, connecting with authors I’ll never meet and those who have long been gone. It’s an intimate space, those pages of a book, where writers pour out their creativity and share vulnerability through their characters and finely crafted thoughts through words. Perhaps some stories happened or they are inventions of things that wish to have happened, wandering all of the places in the world where readers will find them.

Stories have changed. We once waited a week between episodes of favorite TV shows, anticipating what’s to come, figuring out plot twists and who-done-its. Now we can gorge ourselves on Netflix series throughout a weekend, but is it any different than reading a book cover to cover in a day?

Stories have changed. What once was a well captioned Instagram photo or Facebook post is now “too long” for us to read. Use less words, but lots of hashtags. How does that even make sense? We have to post to stories that disappear in a day. What do we put there that makes us want it to disappear?

Stories are moving too fast-the ones that are run by algorithms at least. I need time to think about what I’m reading. I like time between TV shows. (Is it even called TV anymore?) I’ve always been a slow reader, so maybe it’s just me who has a problem having to press my finger on a digital story so I can take in the content. Lives are flashing too fast before my eyes and it feels as if, in the age of being connected, I’m losing connectivity. Is it because I’m older? Is it because I like to take my time and don’t feel like I can ever catch up? I can’t figure it out.

It’s exciting to see how things change, but stories, they still connect us. We still share them. And I think they’re too important to shorten for the sake of scrolling.