Sunday, March 8, 2015
Once upon a time
Some people are natural storytellers. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I can recount something that happened, but to make up a story out of thin air is a mystery to me. What happens next? I'm never sure.
My husband, fortunately, is a story teller. It's not his trade, and he's no novelist, but he can unravel a yarn before I even know it's fiction. This has come in handy in the past on long runs or when waiting in the airport... any time I want to read but I'm too tired, he'll just tell me a story. Sometimes they involve people, sometimes dragons with allergies, sometimes us in the future. Sometimes they wrap up really nicely, sometimes there's a surprise ending, sometimes they just sort of fizzle out. But I always enjoy listening (and making suggestions along the way).
I listened to Neil Gaiman on the radio a few weeks ago, and he talked about a reading tour he did. On the tour, he just told one of his stories. He said when it starts, people start shifting in their seats and looking uncomfortable, wondering, "Is this guy really going to just tell a story for an hour straight?" By the time he neared the end, however, he said that people were always on the edges of their seats, completely engrossed.
Storytelling is one of those old traditions of humanity that we forget about when life gets busy. We might take some time out to tell stories to our children, to pass on the tradition, but we neglect this side of ourselves as adults. Whether you're the storyteller or listener, it's well worth the time it takes to build meaning together.