More on Telling a Story

When I was a child, I wrote almost every day. As a young girl, the world outside my little house seemed to have thousands of possible adventures, characters, places, and histories. I often had new ideas pop in mind. So many of them I would write down by typing up a quick Word document on my dad’s Macintosh desktop computer. Over the years, I collected several notebooks and either journaled about myself or dreamed about someone else who lived a different life from mine. I used to read as much as or more than I would write. Inspired, I would try different writing styles and tones, sentence structures, and even ways to organize story development.

I never dreamed of becoming an author, though I did hope that one day I would publish a novel or two. And I kept on writing from early elementary through college. I recall that I thought I’d do a number of things in life, and not just have one career – and writing would somehow fit in with anything. And I was never immersed in any one story. I’ve always had too many questions to be able to settle. This, I believe, is where the trouble began; when I slowed down my writing. I had no plan.

But there’s something that writing actually can answer to (and reading, for that matter). There is continuous learning and growing by going into the pool of storytelling. Writing is never a simple matter of typing up a few pieces of the narrative or even a finished piece. Life is story – and for a person who has the hunger for putting it down onto a page, the act of writing is a beautiful thing. It never ends, and it is always exciting. Even when it is the hardest thing to do.

Telling a Story

I’ve never been very good at telling a story with a few eyes pointed in my direction. My voice is stilled. Possibly, the oratory tradition has fallen away. But I do have many memories of my grandfather telling stories, so often by mingling humor with earnest principles. He died when I was only 21, away at college. There are countless stories that I’m certain I missed hearing.

My father and mother were more conservative in their storytelling. Dad shared more than Mom, often detailing the way life was in the different cities he lived in throughout his childhood and teenage years. I was able to picture the homes, the sunshine, even conceive of the sounds.

To fill my imaginative mind, I played with my sisters. Kate, my elder sister, was both assertively instructive about the way to play, while also being a real story builder. She was  more creative than me, coming up with new, interesting names for our  dolls and play-acting characters while, for one example, I steadily kept the given Barbie Doll names. Rachel, my younger sister, is very likely the most creative and intelligent of us all, but when she was very small, we didn’t recognize it. However, I am certain I gained a greater sense of independence and individualism from her.

Look back on your history. What characters and other-life stories did you, and your siblings if you have any, create as a child? Remember what that was like. You’ll find, or re-discover, your creativity there.