Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just tell the story already!

I like stories. I like telling them and I like hearing them. I recall a college professor telling us that southerners are natural storytellers. I don't know about that but it seems to be genetic in my female line. My mother was always telling me stories. And I have found other folks in my family and acquaintance who tell me they have stories to tell.

But they are so reluctant to tell them. I sometimes exchange an email with a cousin who recently told me he had been trying to tell his life story for quite some time now but everything kept getting out of order. I could hear his frustration. Maybe I misread him but this is what I wrote:

I'll give you a couple of tips about writing to get you started.
  • Just write like you talk and to heck with what your HS English teacher said.
  • Use a tape recorder (if you can stand the sound of your own voice) and simply tell the story to it.
  • You have grandchildren. Do you tell them stories? Have Lynn get out a video camera and let her tape the event. Your children and grandchildren would cherish the recording. . .and you can write something down after.
The point is. . .don't let those stories go untold. DON'T Mama told stories all the time. I wish I could remember half of them . A story doesn't have to be five pages long. Some stories are/were just a few short sentences. Like the one Mama used to tell on Grandpa (Papa) and Grandma: One time Grandpa got mad at Grandma about something. He started in on her, apparently something fierce. And kept on and on about it until he ran out of breath and stopped. At that point, Grandma stood up , started clapping and singing an old gospel song. Grandpa stared at her like she had lost her mind. "Frankie! What are you doing?!" "Oh," Grandma replied, "I thought the preaching was over and it was time for the singing."
I loved that story. It wasn't long but told me so much about my grandparents. I bet you could tell a few just like it or similiar anyway. It isn't long; it doesn't have to be. Now your turn----tell me one!
Life is so full of stories and people who want to tell them. And so many are afraid their stories just won't be good enough. I certainly can understand that. But it begs the question: good enough for what? Telling your children or grandchildren? Your best friend? A group of friends?  A very large group of strangers? The audience will decide the value or merit of the story. Just tell the story already!
Yes, this all sounds a little presumptious. I'm not an author yet but I've simply heard people tell stories then dismiss their ability to tell one. My cousin isn't the only one I've ragged on recently.

1 comment:

Go ahead--- list your website. I'd love to visit.