03 November 2005

Notes on Storytelling

A good friend asked me to write about storytelling. I never put together a well stitched piece, but I did jot down some notes. I went back to look at them today, and thought they were interesting. This is largely unedited - just thoughts and feelings as they came out.

If you tell a story and don't add anything, why tell the story?
There'’s adding and then there's adding.

If it comes from the heart, it goes to the heart.

You can sense who's really listening.

There are stories that are true that never happened, and there are stories that happened that aren't true.

You live a story by telling it. There are stories that I never understood until I told them over-and-over.

I was alone once, feeling strange. I couldn'’t quite put a finger on the malaise. Told myself a story and cried like a child.

It's hard to put a finger on the deepest of life's experiences, but a story somehow manages...

A story brings the listener and the teller there - they live the experience of the story.

Sometimes it's best when you don't understand the story as you're telling it - when you don't try and give people a pointed dose of advice in the story, but create a space where you can live the story, and they can live the story, and they can grow from it, and you can grow from it.

Creating space is key: pauses, spaces.

How do you know what story to tell?
Sometimes the story comes, sometimes it doesn't. There can be a moment when a story comes and the next moment you know it has to be a different story.
Sometimes they ask you to tell a story, and a story you haven't thought of in a year demands to be told. Sometimes they ask you to tell a story, and you want to run out of the room. Is it them? Is it me? Does my sub-conscious perceive something that suggests a story? Does God put a story in my mouth?


MC Aryeh said...


A Simple Jew said...

From that posting. I can tell you have been to Uman.

'laizer said...

Ahh, but the notes are from before I went to Uman...


Or perhaps there is a retroactive effect? You might claim that I may not have been able to write it unless I was in the future going to be in Uman...

A Simple Jew said...

Exactly ;)

Kalman Rushdie said...

I was in a bookstore today and looked at a book of stories by a well-known story-teller in the fantasy genre. His stories are totally out there but also grounded in traditional story-telling modes. I read a few short ones and really felt like I was in a different world. When I closed the book, it was a shock to be back in real life. So I opened the book again. Too late; I lost the moment.