If I was to choose between a good story-teller and a scholar, the story-teller would win hands down. I believe that a good story can make up for lack of preparation and deficiency in looks. I believe that if a good story teller is invited, the dinner party will be fun. I believe if I am seated next to that good
story-teller, the dinner party will be fabulous. I believe that a good story-teller can take a slightly above-average story and turn it into a riveting prize-winning tale. It’s all in the delivery.
Good story-tellers have taken me to places I’ll never visit and to times in which I’ve never lived. They ply me with humor or use poignant significance to draw me in. They show me exactly what they mean to say or they lead me slowly to the prize. They cause me to chuckle or prod me to think. I value all. It’s the way they tell their story that gives certainty to my adoration.
When I was in second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Hunholz, read out loud to the class each day after lunch. Most of my classmates lie their heads on their
desks while she read. I sat straight up, engrossed in the lives of Laura and her sister Mary, fascinated by the story that Ms. Wilder had written. Each daily reading expanded my growing vision of the way Laura spoke, how the Ingalls family looked, what their little house was like and how they spent their days. My vision preceded Hollywood’s by a number of years but it was not vastly different. The stories brought life to something far away from what I knew and the written words painted for me a picture of a life far different from mine.
When I was a younger woman, I had a friend from Mississippi who told stories of the South she knew, of friends who always had three names and who were involved in circumstances that seemed unbelievable, though true. Her words slid off of her tongue in a way that made you feel you were seated on a front porch in Mississippi on a hot, humid night listening to the sound of cicadas, although you were actually sitting in a coffee shop on a cold day in Illinois listening to her drawl. She could drag a story out through three lattes without pause and would always end by asking, “What do you think about that?” And we listeners would go back and forth, adding our two cents worth while we drank yet another $2 latte.
A few years ago, I spent time with a man from a small town in Montana who could tell a story better than anybody I’ve known. Not only did he have good material to draw from, he had a memory for great detail, an intellect and vocabulary that I’ve not seen matched, and perfect timing. He made me laugh and he made me cry and sometimes even made me laugh and cry in receipt of a single story. His draw on mannerisms, colloquialisms and local lore was unsurpassed. Added to his faultless delivery was an uncanny gift of getting to the heart of the matter by the end of each story. I never heard one of his that did not make me think twice.
When I watch the movie Out of Africa, in the scene where Robert Redford’s character is sharing stories with those gathered round the dining table that belonged to Meryl Streep’s character, I am always enchanted by the storytelling as much as I am by his good looks and charm. Wine and good food is shared between dear friends, but more importantly, they share stories.
The real Karen Blixen (under pseudonym Isak Dinesen) wrote “To be a person is to have a story to tell.” Not everybody tells their story but in some
way or another, most do. Tellers voice their stories so as not to forget and they are heard by others to remember. Stories are told and received to give life to dreams, to entertain, to cheer and inspire, to share or gain wisdom, to build understanding and to connect. Stories are told everywhere in life, in libraries, in theatres, on film, on television, in galleries, through the internet and yes, around tables at dinner parties.
The dining table remains my favorite place to hear and tell stories. Recently, my table has expanded and new chairs have been added to include story-tellers who are friends and acquaintances I know only virtually. Stories come to me now across oceans and miles and are sent by people by whom I will never have the opportunity to sit at a dinner party. My stories will be read by people I do and do not know and by those who may or may not join in the conversation. And their presence at my table, whichever way, will be felt and appreciated.
To those around my table: I lift my glass above and toast our connection. I will read your written words and look at your photographs for the stories they tell. I will experience a life different from my own. I will join in dialogue with others who enjoy or are sometimes provoked by your stories. I will think twice about what you have said. I will remember your stories, hear your dreams, be entertained, cheered and inspired, gain wisdom and understanding, laugh, cry and smile. I will tell my stories and share with you who I am. I will find things I didn’t know about myself and rediscover things about myself that I’d lost. And whether virtual, real, participant, observer, or somebody who on occasion stops in to read, I will take pleasure in your presence. Here’s to you–great story tellers, readers of my stories, and my perfect dinner party guests.
Note: I am honored to be given The Liebster Blog Award by Coming East http://comingeast.com and The Versatile Blogger Award by Life in the Boomer Lane http://lifeintheboomerlane.wordpress.com . You are both great story-tellers and inspire me. I am to tell seven things about myself and pass the honors on to other bloggers, inviting them to do the same, if they choose to or if they haven’t already done so. Coming up with seven things about me and selecting a few bloggers from so many great ones is hard. Checking out their great blogs is not.
Me in Seven
- I dream of living in Paris or the Italian countryside for the year of my 60th birthday.
- My favorite foods are green olives, all chocolate and my mother’s mashed potatoes. My mother whispered the words “mashed potatoes” as she was wheeled, heavily sedated, into the delivery room where I was born.
- I am blue-eyed while my 3 siblings and both parents have brown eyes.
- I have never met a person my age or older who has the same first name as I.
- I have lived in 15 different homes in my lifetime, all but two west of the Mississippi.
- I was the tallest girl in my class in junior high school and the youngest girl in my class in high school.
- My first memory of writing was a neighborhood newsletter I produced on an old typewriter in the basement. The first issue consisted solely of the full lyrics to “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.
Some Great Story-tellers:
Goodbye Whoopee Pie at http://mairzeebp.wordpress.com/
Woman Wielding Words at http://lkramer14.wordpress.com/
If I Were Brave at http://ifiwerebraveblog.com
Elena’s Inspirations at http://elenaabrams.wordpress.com/
Unfolding Your Path to Joy at http://unfoldingyourpathtojoy.com/
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch at http://veederranch.com/
Wine, Woman, Travel at http://winewomantravel.wordpress.com/
What Gives 365 at http://whatgives365.wordpress.com/
thecvillean at http://thecvillean.wordpress.com/
Life through a Lens at http://traceycaponephotography.com/
Huffygirl’s Blog at http://huffygirl.wordpress.com/
This Time This Space at http://thistimethisspace.com/
A Certain Simplicity at http://acertainsimplicity/
Deliriously Divine at http://deliriouslydivine.wordpress.com/
Saturday Evening Porch at http://reelingintheyears.wordpress.com/