I freely admit that I absolutely love to tell stories. I think I always have. My younger cousin Laura was often the victim of these tales, such as the one about the “magic pussy willow” that could make her bothersome wart vanish. She was scared to have it frozen off, but was going to have it done. Imagine both of our surprise when that wart fell off in her sleep that night!
Story telling isn’t just one person talking and other people listening. A good story teller is in tune with his or her audience and it becomes an interactive experience. There is just something about watching the faces of the people listening to your story. You know that you’ve got them on the hook, and you’re just waiting for the right moment to reel them in!
I think my story telling skills were finely honed as a Girl Scout leader, which I enjoyed for 5 years when my daughter was young. Every time we took a trip, the girls wanted me to tell them stories. So my brain went into overdrive trying to crank out new stories fast enough to satisfy them! When I taught fourth grade, my students loved to hear stories. Nothing could get them more engaged in a social studies lesson or a novel study better than introducing the topic with a story. I heard from many parents that their children would come home and share stories that I’d told them in class. It turned out to be a great educational tool, and I was right in my element…being the story teller!
So turning to writing novels at this point in my life is probably just a natural step for someone who was born to tell stories. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed doing anything more than writing my first novel. I am so deeply immersed in my next book that I have a hard time pulling my head back into reality when I need to accomplish something in the “here and now”! An added bonus–a got a payment from Amazon yesterday for the books that I’ve sold. It was more thrilling than that first check I earned as a teenager, which excited me so much I hated turning it over to the bank teller because I wanted it for a souvenir.
If you have a story teller in your midst, I’d encourage you to feed that love of telling stories. Suggest they begin writing them down- something I wish that I had done as a child and teenager. A great idea that my mom had to cultivate the ‘story teller’ in my two kids was the “round robin” story. They did this over the computer and my mom would start a story and then “tag” the kids. They would take over and add on for a few paragraphs, sometimes more, before “tagging” Grandma. I recently found out that my mom printed these stories out and put them in a notebook. I can’t wait to read them!
I cherish every adult in my life who told me stories, but also the ones who took the time to listen to them. I have wonderful memories of swinging on the front porch in Sautee, GA with my own grandmother listening to her tell stories of Katie-did and Billy-did, the little grasshoppers who traveled home with us on the bumper of our car. Loralee Cooley from my childhood church in Lilburn, GA told wonderful stories and always encouraged me to tell my own. So, I feel like I’ve become a member of a club of sorts…the story telling club. And it is a role that I thoroughly enjoy. Want to join me? I’d love to hear your favorite story that you tell!