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.


  1. Fun to find the blog of another Washingtonian! I love stories, but don't consider myself a storyteller. It seems to be a lost art in today's age of digital connections. I remember as a kid listening to adults tell stories for hours. I do have a college friend who tells wonderful stories on Facebook and slicer friends tell great stories too! Long live the story!

    1. Yay! I'm happy to see another Washingtonian too! Where in WA are you?

  2. Thinking about the professional storytellers of old...wouldn't they have been musicians too?

  3. Mom (she's 86) has been telling stories lately at dinner, small moments of times with pets and animals, that are so vivid for her. When my grandkids come over for my birthday in two weeks, we're going to do some story telling. For fun!

  4. I am with you, I can appreciate it even though it isn't my forte. Fun to have a story teller on your life journey with you!