Grandpa “T” was a great storyteller. After the dishes were done, we gathered around his kitchen table and he related tales such as the time he jumped into the back of a truck filled with dead dogs. The story never changed, but each time he told it we were riveted to our seats. How many blocks did he have to ride with them before the truck stopped long enough to escape? Did they smell bad? How bad did he smell afterward?
My uncle and one of my sisters inherited that penchant for verbal storytelling.
Frankly, I’m jealous.
Most of the stories I tell end with “…and then I found five dollars”. It’s the standard response when an audience’s eyes have glazed over and you need to end on a high note. Folks always get excited when you find money. Verbal storytelling, it seems, is not my strongest talent.
Yet, I love a good story. Give me a good book and I’ll be gone for days. Put me in front of a screen with a solid television series and I’ll binge watch the whole thing. Introduce me to a compelling film and I’ll watch it over and over. I love great storytellers and their narratives.
I, too, want to tell great stories. I want to be a great storyteller. My preferred format is the written word.
I’ve written stories, on-and-off again, since high school. During college, I published my own zine and participated in collaborative storytelling with a role-playing gaming group. With the introduction of the world wide web, I moved to writing online in the form of various blogs. Still, until recently, I hadn’t taken writing seriously.
A year and a half ago, two friends and I started a podcast about writing. The podcast has three main benefits for my writing. First, we outline technology available for writers to help them create better stories. Second, we improve our skills by discussing the craft of writing. Finally, we keep each other accountable. Nothing motivates me to write more so than my fellow
procrastinators writers giving me a hard time.
Given their encouragement, I’ve taken to writing like all struggling artists do. I battle writer’s block and imposter syndrome, but in the written word I am able to craft the emotion and suspense for the tales I want to tell. In writing and editing, I have the time to get the right word or phrase. Writing is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. It is also the most satisfying.
Where do I hope to take this writing thing? I would love to publish my work for others to enjoy. Perhaps I could sell a few copies. I don’t expect to make six figures with my writing, but wouldn’t that be a hoot?! Then there’d be movie deals and Hollywood parties and Uhri turning into a household name.
Actually, my biggest goal is to never utter the following words again:
Have I told you about the time I found five dollars?