I have never told a story quite like my mother… or grandmother for that matter. But in saying that, the stories that those women tell, are their life stories. They are the stories about themselves, their spouses, their experiences, or even some amusing stories about their friends or mutual acquaintances.
I don’t know how they remember these random and riveting stories, as I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast this morning. But they somehow manage to verbally hold their audiences for hours.
I have just had my 30th birthday, and have had the whole family around for the past five days staying with us at our house. The torrents of stories that flooded into the midst staggered me. People afterwards said to me “Wow, your mother tells the most amazing stories!” … “She sure does,” I always respond, smiling – especially if I have heard the same story about ten times before.
Someone once told me that by the time you tell a story about fifteen times, by then the story will be ingrained into you, allowing you to recall the memory of the story at any old time. So, I figure that my mother must talk a lot! Actually, she never stops talking. Not even for a minute. But when I get emails and letters from her, the grammar and spelling is shocking, but the story is still good – even if she does have the refined British accent of the queen, but the cutting verbal edge of a ninja sword.
So why is it that some people can write really good stories, but not speak them, and others can just ‘tell’ really good stories? Is this factor to do with ‘showing’ the story through the written medium, or through the oral ‘telling’ of speech? I find that when I try and tell someone a good story, I shove so much detail in the story that it becomes completely distracting, whereas when I write a story – the detail in necessary to paint the literary picture. Needless to say, I feel that I make a better writer than a town crier, office gossip, or general storyteller using verbal advantage. Nor do I believe that I could actually repeat off the same story fifteen times to even remember it!
So I pose the question…. Are you a verbal story teller, or do you embrace the writer within you to tell the stories that you want the world to hear?