Writebrainit

March 4, 2008

The ART of STORYTELLING

Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 12:35 pm

I am a storyteller which is a blessing since I am also a writer. Lately I have noticed this group of people who are not into the stories as much as they used to be. Thank God that I still am and blessed be those who have to listen to me. I don’t just tell the facts, I tell the story. I write long emails, I talk in long breathes and I often can’t finish talking until my story is complete. Try me – I come back to it. Telling a story takes me a little longer than most, but it’s well worth the time. Believe me I know it is or I wouldn’t tell it. I find myself interesting and wish I could find me in a crowd, I think I would love to hear one of my stories (I think I would).

I do have to admit that every now and then, after I finish telling a story, I think…’hmmmm…was that necessary and something I will want to share again? Last week we had a speaker come into our office and he spoke of generational differences. It was very interesting to me, and I was able to identify someone in my office who fit the different areas. The one that bothered me the most is this new, younger generation who is coming in to the workforce. They aren’t starting with a business to stay, average length is about 3 years, they do not recognize a hierarchy in the office and expect that everyone treat them as equals. I have totally notices this and it bugs the hell out of me, but it is calms me to know that this is a generational thing. I can learn to work with that.

The piece that really bothers me is the way they like their information. I work in the mental health field and everyone of the families I work with, have a story. Some like to tell it, some don’t. When I have a new person shadowing me to a an appointment, I like to give them a shortened history of this family’s life and interaction with me. I have become more and more bothered with the people who have started to interrupt me in the middle of my ‘storytelling’ with the questions like ‘how old is he?’; ‘what does he like to do?’, ‘how long have you been working with him/her?’ These are all questions that can be found in the chart or my notes. I even recently told one of the new people that if she wants me to tell her about the client and work we have done, she will have to listen. And if she just wants the basics, she is welcome to go read the chart and then approach me with her questions. I am thinking that might be the approach which I am going to take with most of the shadowing – read the chart and let me know the questions you might have after doing this.

I tell stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. I am bothered when I don’t get to finish my story and there are times I wish to know, if you don’t want me to tell you the story, just let me know at the beginning. I am not Rose from The Golden Girls who’s stories go on and on and on. I don’t think I ramble, but I do like the stories that I am blessed to see in every day life. Recently at the Omaha Film Festival, I was blessed with the opportunity to drive around some of the presenters. One of the main presenters, Jeff Kitchen, was honestly a little hard to talk to. I could engage him in conversation if I found the right topic, other than that the answers were short and sweet. One thing he did say to me though after I had confirmed that I was, in fact, a writer was, ‘well then you know, that as a writer you get to see stories in everything.’ I couldn’t agree more, and that is actually almost exactly something I say often.

The funny thing is that this is probably one of the only things which Jeff and I agreed on – ah, that’s too general of a statement and probably not true. I was amused that he loved Michael Clayton and thought it was a brilliant thriller. He was hoping it would clean up at the Oscars and I, of course, didn’t even feel it was worthy of one Oscar nomination. I still stand by my thoughts that this could have been an episode of a television show or a movie of the week. I loved Atonement and Jeff thought it was horrible.

Anyways, back to my topic on storytelling. I have noticed some friends recently cutting me off or appearing bored with what I am saying. I can respect the bored response, we all have different interest levels and I am not always interested in what they have to say either. I take this as a challenge – to work on my storytelling. When I am telling a story, I will try to boil it down to the basic, but I won’t be shortening words, using numbers in the place of words or in essence turn my stories into a text message. Those that need this should let me know at the beginning – if you want the facts, ask for the facts, just don’t act stupid and comment, ‘you never told me that’ at a later time when you realize you didn’t get the story.

Often I admit that as I am telling the story, I am trying to perfect it, or get an idea if this idea will work on paper. I may embellish (although not often when I am first telling the story), but I will also tend to own up on what piece was truth and what was exaggerated. If I get a fair enough response from people, I try to put it on paper but the truth is that not everything which happens in real life, can be put into a story well (at least without an embellishment or two – consider it an accessory for the story).

Wanna hear what happened with my driver’s license?

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