|Visiting Christopher Columbus in his 'living room', |
Columbus Circle, NYC, art installation
First of all, my apologies for the 'radio silence' of the past few weeks. This may be the longest I've gone between postings on the blog since it's inception in 2005. It's been a busy time, with a brief trip to NYC (my old stomping grounds!) followed nearly immediately by the happy chaos that is Thanksgiving in our home.
This year, we had 9 people and 4 dogs in our house. (Our normal complement--though very few people who know us think we're normal--is 4 people and 2 dogs. So it felt a wee bit crowded.
|My in-laws' dogs, finding an inconvenient nap spot in the middle of the kitchen|
I have always enjoyed my in-laws' company. I think my husband's family have the gene for storytelling, which is possibly mapped nearby the one for spatial relations (one I definitely DO NOT have) and cooking. Of the three, the storytelling gene is probably the strongest.
Dinner table conversations are often rollicking, especially when my husband and his father get going. They both have this ability to spin out a tale or a joke. Good comic timing and the ability to carry the listener along, rapt, waiting for the punch line, even if they've heard it before.
I am not a storyteller. I'm a writer.
I think they are very different skill sets.
If you give me a crayon and a napkin, I'd likely write a poem or a story before I'd draw a picture. And I can only seem to tell my stories on paper. (Or the computer screen.)
But my father in law can spin out a tale, seemingly without any preparation or planning and with consummate ease.
It is a skill I am quite envious of, but one, alas, I think is beyond me. Perhaps that's because I pay as much attention to the language as I do the story in the telling. And that gets me tongue tied. You can't edit on the fly and for me, the magic happens in the editing.
It's one thing to get the bare bones of a story down, but quite another to let that story sing. For me, it takes careful crafting and consideration of each word as it sits next to its fellows.
I am also not a spontaneous person. Me and spontaneous don't even sit well in the same galaxy. I think you have to have a certain fearless spontaneity to be a story teller. And an ability to just toss out the words, knowing they're the right ones in the right order, or not worrying if they're not--trusting in the flow of the story to carry your reader along.
If you are a second guesser, a brooder, or a planner, like me, I suspect you aren't a storyteller. Thank goodness that's not the only way to create Story, or I'd be stuck trying to figure out what to do with all the voices in my head. :)