As a very young boy I can recall the times my Grandparents would visit us in Maryland, from their home in Jasper, Indiana. I reveled in Grandpa Oscar’s visits, as did my brother and sisters. Grandma Nelda, on the other hand, was feared more than embraced. My grandparents never seemed to be in much of a rush when they visited, I was too young to understand the stress my grandmother caused in my mother. Grandpa Oscar could always lighten the moments by calling me to his lap, where I would sit and listen to his stories.
One of my fascinations as a youngster was listening to all the tails of bygone times, even injecting myself into these stories as if to claim them as my own.
With practice I could recall them with pin point accuracy, in every detail; it was important to be correct with regard to the fine points because it was the fine points of a story that made it unique.
Over the years I practiced story telling. Since one of my earliest teenage dreams (see “Dreams Are Far Behind or What Suit Do I Wear Today? Part I“) was to be a comedian of the Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson type, telling a story was critical. And besides the mere telling of the story, one had to be armed with special character voices to provide color and depth. All of these learned skills served me well over the years. I think my finest hours as a story teller were the times I’d sit with my daughter, reading children’s books or recounting some cute piece of family folklore to her, embellishing every prose with voices I’d acquired while in my youth. She was never shy to ask, “Daddy, tell me a story?”
Years later, while my son was very young, my daughter could be heard reading and telling him some of the stories, all while trying to imitate the voices she’d heard from me.
In May 2006 I joined my first social network site, the now defuncted “Yahoo 360!” The center piece of this social network was writing; anyone who was anyone (meaning those with the most page views) was a writer of some sort. Most people just posted simple diary-like entries, you know the kind, “…and today I was depressed so I stopped and ate a quart of chocolate ice cream and a bag of Twinkies”, or ” …my car broke down, but praise God I’m still having a blessed day!”; pretty much meaningless without truly knowing the writer. Others took time to detail their experiences in a way that drew you back, it was reading these posts (not yet called blogs) that sparked a fire in me to write. You can read one of my earliest posts (not yet a real blog of course), My new 2004 Crossfire….vrooom, by clicking the link. If you continue to read the subsequent posts you’ll discover, as I did, that a style started to take shape. (Links to each post, in order of publishing, can be found at the top of each blog page in the upper right.)
The real change in my writing came when I discovered writing is merely an exercise in “Daddy, tell me a story.” Anyone who knows me long enough will hear me say as some point while listening to the day to day stories that make up our communication with loved ones and friends, “Gee, that’s a great story, you should write about it just, like you’re telling me!” Writing can be as simple as that; telling a story of your exploits.
Writing is the way we capture information before it fades from memory with age, it’s a way to relive important moments or better, for our children to listen to “all the tails of bygone times, even injecting ” themselves into these stories as if to claim them as their own.”
If you can Tell A Story, you can write.
Thanks for reading this far.