Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Who Stirred the Storyteller in You?

My grandmother was a storyteller. Back before Ipods & smartphones & elaborate gaming systems--even before cable for that matter!--my three sisters & I would sit enraptured at her feet as she shared memories from her childhood. Grandpa was the same. Only his allegedly true stories were so outlandish & scary even the littlest among us didn't believe them. But, boy, did we beg for those stories every time we came to visit.
After I grew up I discovered that another grandfather, who died before I was born, was also a storyteller and natural entertainer. He dabbled in poetry and songwriting. Unfortunately none of these important and special people in my life were inclined to write any of those stories down. Over the years the stories have become blurred and fuzzy in my memory so that now all I really remember is the comfort & love I experienced while listening. It's no mystery that I was drawn to spinning my own stories. And not just to keep the kids entertained on long summer afternoons. I wanted to share my stories with the world. Sadly none of the three people who awoke my love for storytelling are around to read the words I pen. Someday I may be able to share that love with them, but until then I'll keep telling stories through my keyboard.
What about you? Who influenced your passion for storytelling? Are they still here to share your victories and disappointments as you struggle to put those stories to paper before they are lost forever? Or maybe you're the one igniting the love of storytelling in those around you. Whatever you do, take the time to write those stories down. They are fleeting. Someday someone will wish they could recall your words and wish you were here to share them again.


Karen said...

My mom was the storyteller of the family. As we got older we realized the stories got stretched as the years went on. Guess that's why I like fiction so much.

Some of the best times I remember though was sitting and listening to my mom talk with friends and family gathered around the table with coffee and cookies and sharing stories. We don't do that enough these days.

J.S. Clark said...

I was already making home movies when I was about ten or so, so I have to look further back . . . I end up thinking it was Godzilla 1985 and War of the Worlds (the book, not the movie). I don't remember a point at which I knew I wanted to tell stories, I just started doing it; but my earliest creations were imitations of those two . . . ironically both very destructive. But, I be's a boy.

Connie Almony said...

My grandfather used to love to tell fanciful stories. We never knew, til the very end, whether it was true, completely made up, a joke with a punch-line or ... even his idea for a car commercial. Either way, he had us on the edge of our seats til we found out. Coming out of surgery, once, his first words were, "I have a story." Tho he was the one who began the great love of story, it was my now eleven year old daughter who finally inspired me to get serious about writing. She'd been writing chapter books since second or third grade and one day we brainstormed a story together. She used some of my thoughts and made them sing, but when she didn't use the others, I knew I needed to take control of the creative process and write myself.

Teresa Slack said...

Sitting around the table talking or listening to the adults talk is def what ignited my love of reading. No, Karen, we don't do that enuf anymore. I was a quiet kid so the adults would often forget I was in the room. I heard all the dish & always wanted to know the story behind the story. J.S, you sound like my husband. He and his cousins used to put their grandfather's car in gear and coast it down the driveway. My girl cousins and I never thought of stuff like that.

Connie, your grandpa sounds like mine. My Grandpa was so convincing in his stories with so much detail, even if we were pretty sure he was pulling our legs, we were having too much fun not to believe him.

Molly Noble Bull said...

I'm not sure who stirred the storyteller in me. But I think it was my mom. She read to me all the time as a child. What a great way to get introduced to the love of story.

Teresa Slack said...

I agree, Molly. I once read that the common denominator of most prison inmates, regardless of demographics, was that they were not read to as children. That says a lot. Love that I had a mother who loved to read and passed that passion to me and my sisters.