When Show Meets Tell, Good Things Happen

Storytelling has always been second nature for me. From the time I was a wee lad and my parents would ‘spotlight’ me for their dinner company, I’ve been entertaining peeps with tales. It’s not about the instant gratification though. Nope, it’s about the connection that is achieved in this particular relationship. When you write, the comments arrive in dotted arrangements of time and space, if at all. And I dig that just fine, because to write is the thing for me.

Storytelling simply validates my idea about making whatever form you wish to express yourself in, the thing. You understand it to be all that matters, because in the cosmic way of doing business, it is. To live by any other mandate is to enslave the very thing you’re trying to achieve. Voice. It’s just that, unlike most forms of expression, storytelling is uniquely efficient. Because when you tell a story to a group of people, it’s all right there. No delays. Just boom. These are characteristics to which I abide- creativity, passion and boom.

I got to thinking about this connection after taking in an art show recently. I dig artists, mostly because they conceptualize reality without restraints. There is a thrust to their cultivation that I have always been in love with. Good art is pleasing to the senses. Great art? It’s every single other thing. It’s one of the purest forms of provocative thought, and I’m always inspired by its refusal to play by rules or precepts.

And so it goes with storytelling in real time. I write to achieve peace, but I tell stories to achieve everything else. For me, writing a story is like paddling a canoe across a pond. Telling a story is white water rafting.

A top 5 of my recent Hall of Fame storyteller listens? Sure, why not . . .

Sheryl Sandberg- When she speaks on how she coped with overwhelming grief, I’m awed. When she talks about the voice we all have, I’m floored. She is the quintessential Wonder Woman of the spoken word.

Louis C.K.- He speaks on the unpleasant realities of our everyday lives with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. In an age of stylized irreverence- where backbone goes to die- he deals up the truth, with no apologies.

Richard Harris- He didn’t simply tell stories, he stitched them into our minds with a regal aplomb. Harris used the skeletons in his closet as the scaffolding for the stories he constructed, because it always felt as if you were getting away with something in the listening.

Bob Dylan- He is the emeritus professor of lyrics; the common denominator of so many of the songs that followed him out of the brilliant storm of a musical revolution.

Frank Deford- In this age of disposable journalism, he was a master of erudition and (gasp!) veracity. Godspeed.

Writing will always be a thing I do, because I love turning the hustle into flow. Storytelling is something that happened into being out of the something good of a fresh new perspective on writing. And now? The ‘twain are gonna shack up and have babies. And I have no idea how it’s going to look, and I’m not gonna lie . . . that turns me on.

It’s a very good thing.





41 thoughts on “When Show Meets Tell, Good Things Happen

  1. Do you have a MOTH near you? or is this some other story-telling venue. I dig telling storied too..i keep going to the Moth and not putting my name in the hat. One day..

    • We have the local equivalent at this cool Irish bar downtown. MOTH is something I actually considered trying out on a trip to NYC back in the day. It was that or a Mets game and we decided to go to the game. What the hell was I thinking?

      You should do it Mish. It’s just fun as hell, and a great release. If you dig telling stories, it’s something you have to do. The immediacy of it is what I love. And there’s no safety net, I love that too.

      Put your name in the hat! Do it.

          • Aw shit Mama! You’re killing me! I was gonna share THIS month when I go up again. But I cannot refuse a request. So here. And no, you don’t need to pass it around. Or watch it more than once. I watched it twice, after which I kept it to a strictly composed word of mouth kinda thing. I don’t want to bother my peeps with the inglorious quality of begging.

            • !!!!!!
              This was AWESOME! Thank you for sharing. Yes, you are a natural storyteller – your timing is perfect. If you tell stories like this about Ann Curry…I can’t wait to see what you conjure about Vera.
              Thank you so much for sharing and for trusting us with this – and it’s so awesome to put a face with a name, too.
              Thank you, Mr. Curry 😉

  2. Years ago, when my Boy was about 15, I stumbled upon the Moth. I drove myself, the Boy and a friend of his who had never been, to NYC so we could attend a Moth event. It was something. Last week I drove to Boston and took the Boy and his girlfriend to a Iive studio taping of Stories from the Stage. I love stories, written and spoken. It’s a way of trying to connect to and make sense of a world that mostly makes no sense at all.

    • Amen!

      Yes, it is. And like I said, I have always crushed on storytellers. My top five was constructed out of a need for brevity, but really, there are so many great storytellers out there.

      What a cool road trip to go on with the kids! And to sit in on a live studio taping to boot! That’s what I’m talking about! I love it. And yes, like you, I love stories- both written and spoken. As per the latter, I find it oils my creative wheels quite nicely. It’s such a useful outlet to have. Especially this past week, as I wrote up a piece for the local paper and TRIED condensing eight hundred pages of a story that has been following me around for the better part of ten years.

      It’s finding the places that do make sense. And it’s comfortable shoes.

      Peace and road trips!

  3. And BOOM! I’m inspired. I love reading your words – would love to hear the storytelling in real time.
    Remember when Christy spoke some of her poetry and stories? Divine.
    Sorry that I’ve been away most of the summer- I so love reading your words 🙂

    • Mama,

      I’m gonna boom my words into sight and sound as things move forward. And thank you, humbly and much for the love. Yes, I do remember the lovely Christy doing her maddest science on those posts. It was honey to the senses, her melody is most certainly divine. Great description, Mama. Perfect actually.

      You don’t have to be sorry. No harm or foul. Hey, I’m sorry for not being in touch with YOU. You’ve always been kind to me. And fair. And you dig my shit! How can I not love that! And you were my wing-man (person, whatevs) when “The Departed” was on that one time and you let me know about it. I wasn’t sure about you . . until that moment when you let me know that Vera was doing her thing. Okay, just kidding. I think I always knew that you were good peeps. I may be slow to the get, but always proper.

      Long winded reply, sorry. Long day. Thank you for the sugar. As per.

      Peace and Hosmer

    • Boss,

      I happen to be in love with you. Don’t worry, not in THAT way. It’s in a “that guy is who I aspire to be . . he kicks it, works it and keeps working it after that” kinda way. Wholly. And seriously. And I don’t even know you that well! But I know you plenty well enough. And I’m lucky for that. And I appreciate you, with all manner of respect and gratitude. Which is why I can say that to you. Because you understand.

      Peace and love

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