Sometimes us writers forget that stories aren't all made from writing. For example, we had a family staying with us for Easter, two parents and their two young daughters. The girls love written stories, read avidly, and the older one enjoys writing stories of her own. They also enjoy telling stories, and told me many stories of school trips, sleepovers with friends, and amusing family incidents. These last were added to when the family went off together to the local water park one afternoon, while my Paramour and I stayed at home to do domestic jobs. When they came back, I asked if they'd had a good time. The girls were jumping up and down, fizzing with a new story to tell, their words falling over each other:
'We went on the big big flume...'
'And I zoomed down first...'
'And then Mummy went next...'
'And afterwards she took ages to get up...'
'I was watching her and wondering why she was taking so long...'
'And then we saw why, it was because...'
'Her PANTS HAD COME DOWN!!!'
Cue for much hilarity all round. This story was told and re-told all weekend (much to poor Mummy's embarrassment), and will no doubt become part of that family's oral story archive.
Some events are reliable story-makers: social rituals such as weddings and funerals; individual rites of passage; random acts of kindness. Friendships are often based on shared stories. I have a small group of newish writer friends who are bonding around stories involving things like catching the wrong train and putting up a tent indoors - trivialities that wouldn't mean much to others, but which create mirth and solidarity for us.
Looked at one way, people's lives are made of stories, and people turn into stories when they die. However, something I have learned in my writing career is that, while there is of course some overlap between life's stories and written stories, they are often more different than they are similar. I remember, as a novice writer, wailing 'But life isn't really like that,' when helpful tutors gently tried to explain the demands of narrative. I've got a much better handle, now, on how to create a written story that will work for a reader. I know that simply writing stories is not enough; I have to design an experience, create a world.
Which is fine. But I reserve the right to hear, tell, and make stories in my life as well as in my computer. In fact, I think it's essential, for writers as for everyone else.