Picking a Blog Name, Part Four
I admitted in Picking a Blog Name, Part Three that, while the name “Mitch Teemley” could be cunningly construed to say something about this blog site, it really is simply my name.
Hence, the need for a meaningful subtitle. I found that in The Power of Story, which also happens to be the motto of my production company Moriah Media. Why?
I’ve always been a storyteller, but it took me a long time to realize it. I’m an only child, so I spent a great deal of time telling myself stories as a kid. My preferred prop was my American Flyer wagon. It could be anything: a car, a spaceship, Kirk Douglas’s flaming burial ship from The Vikings.
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy telling stories to myself, it was that they were just so stirring I had to share them with the whole world! So I reenacted them. Out loud. On the neighborhood streets. At six in the morning. To wit: I learned how to tell stories before I learned when it was OK to tell them.
My third grade teacher Mrs. Restadius booked me for my first legit gig. “If you finish your work early,” she’d inform the class, “I’ll have Mitch tell a story!” Did I love being ranked as a reward alongside cookies and milk? You betcha! But I also became confused…
Thinking my joy was rooted solely in the performing of stories, I concluded that my calling was acting. And for a while the roar of the greasepaint was enough. But by the time I reached college as a theatre major, I knew something was missing. So I began writing and directing, as well.
It still wasn’t enough.
My crisis came to a head when, while performing a long monologue in a strange play by a European existentialist, I went completely blank. As I stared out over that lagoon full of half-lit faces, all I could think was, “Why am I doing this?” I didn’t believe what I was saying. I wasn’t even sure what I was saying.
That night I had a massive anxiety attack, and for months afterward struggled to shut out the voice in my head shouting, “You have no purpose!” Life had to be more than simply driving until I ran out of gas (or performing until the crowd went home). There had to be a destination.
I needed to be about something.
Desperate, I began thumbing through an old heirloom Bible and one day came upon a passage that read, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God.” (John 17:3) The verse lodged itself in my brain and gradually began to supplant the voice shouting, “You have no purpose!”
I now knew—although it took months to accept it—that I had a purpose. I’ve had many doubts since then…
But never about my purpose in life.