Be A Teller of Tales
My first collection of poems! Their quality varies widely, including a few I wish I’d deleted as well as some of my very favorites – the ones that say exactly what I meant, in which I wouldn’t change a word. (Unenlightened, Epistle from an Ephesian Harlot, Finally, I Just Gave Up). I have to admit I love the cover of this book. It epitomizes how I feel about storytelling. If you’ve checked out the website and blog you’ll know that stories are my passion. I find them diverting, amusing, truthful, interactive and mysterious.
Stories divert by taking the listener somewhere else. Whether that new landscape is familiar or utterly unknown, the telling makes it novel. We humans love novelty; it makes us pay attention. Feelings, ideas or information presented in story form are guaranteed a more alert reception.
Laughter is the best medicine. Even sad stories can contain a funny line or two and sometimes just the sheer sadness of them makes us laugh rather than cry. If we laugh at ourselves, all the better. Observing human pomposity can be the perfect antidote to false pride and self-righteousness. Stories are mirrors of human nature, self-portraits that plaster our faults across a canvas. They use color, sight, sound, taste and texture to make the picture palatable enough that we can bear to look at it and learn.
“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” ~ Doris Lessing
“What is truer than truth? Answer: the story.” ~ Isabel Allende
What do these writers mean? Aren’t stories lies and fabrications? No. Stories are vehicles that carry truth, the way a truck carries tomatoes. The truth they carry has to do with the human condition. Each round, red, juicy tomato represents some psychological tidbit or sensual detail about what it means to be Homo sapiens; what it means to live in this world and interact with the planet and each other. Stories teach us who we are, how we think, what we feel. Because we are an integral part of this species and this Earth, there’s not one thing another soul experiences that doesn’t impact us.
We interact with stories by bringing our own experience and imagination to bear on the tale being told. The listener determines the exact shade of blue sky, salivates or gags at the smell of roasting pork, rejoices or despairs at the word ‘love’. The story is a gift that requires both giver and receiver to complete the transaction. In spoken word situations (my favorite) the rapport between teller and audience is even more palpable. Storytelling is one of our oldest forms of communication. We’ve had millennium to practice this relationship and we are ever willing to engage in it.
Finally, the story is mysterious. Good raconteurs rarely tell a story exactly the same way. They shift and jive and play with mirrors, tailoring the telling to their audience. Sometimes their story takes a new twist, or ends different. Sometimes the teller has no idea when he starts what will happen next. Or the listener hears the same fable on two different days; on Tuesday she identifies with the hare on Wednesday with the tortoise. Circumstances affect meaning. Mystery abounds.
Now, you know what to find within these pages – humor, sagacity, mystery, foolishness, skill, ineptitude, praise, rage, despair, polar bears and tomatoes. Enjoy.
Want a print copy? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org