Hiyo again, everyone! As promised, today I’m going to talk about something a little bit philosophical – why I call this tower a tower of story!
I can practically already hear one objection people might raise: “Why are you calling this place a tower at all? Clearly, this is just a website, you dummy!”
It’s true that most of the things people would call towers are physical objects of some sort, often made of wood or stone or maybe even metal and, um, whatever else people use to make buildings. But towers also have a basic structure to them – they can be super tall, but generally they don’t expand too much horizontally. Usually, for a building to be a tower, its height must be significantly greater than its width.
But why would anyone want a building (or part of a building) like that, anyway? I’m sure there are all sorts of answers, but I can only speak for myself, so I’ll narrow down the question – why were towers appealing to me in the first place?
This may be childish, but I guess the simple answer is because the higher up you are in your tower, the farther you are from the ground – and the rest of the world. Of course, that may not always be the case – for example, if there are lots of towers densely packed together like skyscrapers in a city – but the image in my mind was one of a lone tower, maybe in the middle of a town. From the top floor of such a tower, you could see everything around you without anyone getting close. And let’s not forget that a tower is still a building. It provides shelter from the outside world.
For a long time, I wanted that kind of protection and distance, but of course, I didn’t have a physical tower to hide in. Instead, I created distance by hiding behind a mask of lies – lies told both to others and to myself. When you think about it, quite a lot of each person’s perceived reality is made up of the narrative they feed themselves. Back then, I thought of myself as a brainy outcast who would live an ordinary life working some job for which she had no passion. I’d make more than enough money to support myself, so I could keep using my lies to maintain distance and spend the rest of my life hiding from all the meanies out there who made me so pitifully afraid. How despairful! The tower of lies I created was even worse than the things I’d escaped!
But that bleak tale wasn’t the only one I listened to. Like everyone else, I craved entertainment, and I found it in books, games, anime, and movies. I didn’t realize it at the time, but gradually, the stories I experienced through those mediums tweaked the one inside my head. They chipped away at the lies until enough of the truth was uncovered that I could see it for what it was.
My love of stories is not rooted primarily in amusement, but in the effects they can have. Once you realize that you wrap yourself in stories of your own creation (and I bet everyone does), you’re free to allow those stories to interact with ones you deem “fiction”, ’cause, actually, neither is any less true than the other. And if you choose the right stories to take inspiration from, they can change any negative self-narratives you may have into something better.
After all that babbling, I can finally get to the point! Stories can create structure far more binding than any physical material. Some of those structures can serve as prisons that isolate you from the rest of the world – but others can do the opposite. They can reach you even when you think you’re too high up for anyone to make contact. They can help you understand what you truly value in life and give you the courage to chase your dreams. Because of that, I have come to view creating stories as the highest calling I can pursue. I hope my characters can guide people the way that others have done for me.
So, with all that, I guess my opinion about stories is abundantly clear, but you may be asking yourself why I still like towers. After all, at first, my tower left me isolated, and allowed me the distance necessary to drown in bad self-narrative. After an experience like that, you’d think I’d want to run out of the tower screaming. But, here’s the thing: barring amnesia or something like that, each person’s tower of story is representative of their own life. My stories are me, and the past cannot be undone. My tower is a sort of progression – I build it one floor at a time, always using what I already have as a base to keep advancing upward.
And I’m not the only one doing that – the people around me do it, too. Since we seek meaning in our lives, we go out of our way to create that meaning ourselves. The image I had in my mind of a lone tower doesn’t represent the one I created, because in reality, there are other towers all over the place.
So, instead of running away, I continue to build my tower and, by doing so, move forward. I let helpful stories remodel where necessary to get rid of the self-sabotaging portions of my narrative. However, stories can do more than just improve your own tower; they can build bridges connecting your tower to others. Isn’t it just wonderful when you run into someone who’s passionate about a story you love? By sharing our experiences with well known stories, we find common ground and better understand each other.
Anyhow, I guess that’s enough of my rambling for now! If you read all of that, thank you, and I hope you found my perspective somehow interesting. Feel free to leave any questions and thoughts you have in the comments. Since this post is so abstract, next time, I’m hoping to do something a bit more concrete, like maybe talk about why I love some particular work of fiction. I’m a bit indecisive, though, so I haven’t chosen one to feature yet. Silly me!