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.