Monday, August 3, 2009

Storytellers weave life as a story

Tell me a story.

That’s what people really want to hear. Something beyond their own day to day existence that clicks by without even an audible sound. Would it be easier if the days clicked off like the pieces on a game board with a resounding snap? Even if not a loud sound, would that feel more real somehow than the mind numbing sameness of days flowing by without end? Quicker than what we can grasp and hold in our hands, flowing through our fingers faster than liquid thinner than tears.

I think people want to be transported some way. Out of the humdrum sameness of what they know and live and into someone else’s life, universe, or mind. Not that we actually want to be there, or can even be there. But that’s okay, we can stay safe in our own homes, curled up, comfortable and secure. Or be in a place where we want to escape, need to escape, and the only way is through our dreams, and other people’s dreams, and stories.

Yes, people want to hear stories. Whether told by master storytellers by writing on a page or whispered directly to the ear, the words they use should end up somewhere near the heart. A true storyteller transcends the form and goes directly to the heart, soul, and mind.

Tell me a story. It doesn’t have to be yours. It could be a character that’s shown up and won’t leave. I certainly have plenty of experience of those kind myself, peeking out at me from inner recesses of my brain, they brush their teeth and glare at me because I am taking so long to get to them and the story they want to tell me so I can tell it out. They reluctantly shuffle off muttering balefully at my slowness in getting to them and their reluctance to believe I will eventually get to them, and their marvelously compelling story they began to tell me.

Tell me a story. No, it doesn’t have to be yours. It just has to seem real enough to transport us from where we are, and entertain, amuse, or move us in some way.

A true storyteller does all these things. And there are some Great storytellers in the Richmond area, including a lot that volunteer and keep James River Writers going, such as, to mention just a few, Emyl Jenkins, Gigi Amateau, etc…. And they have new books out so be sure to take a look and immerse yourself – place yourself in their very capable storytelling hands. And then come to the James River Writers Conference this fall and meet them, and other wonderful storytellers, such as area hit, Maggie Stiefvater.

Maggie Stiefvater started her storytelling skills with her first book “Lament” – after honing her well developed art and music skills - and continues in her latest book “Shiver” about Grace and Sam and cold and heat. Of all kinds. Join me this week as I dish my review of her book “Shiver” and post an interview of Questions and Answers and all things Maggie. Okay, so she’s just Way too talented to be confined by that sentence even, so let me just say I’ll be posting a review of her new book ‘Shiver, posting some Maggie Answers, and …well, we’ll have to see what else Maggie shows up, won’t we. Stay tuned.

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