I’ve heard this so many times that it’s beginning to sound a little trite: Everybody has a story…several, in fact. And yet, it’s so true. At the same time, however, I’m realizing that many people just don’t get it. They don’t believe that their stories are interesting or worth telling.
I’m not sure exactly what has me thinking about this truism again unless it was something that I read a couple of weeks ago, a blog entitled “It’s Not About You.” I don’t know who wrote it or where I read it, so I hope the author will forgive me for not citing the exact source. I do recall that it was a man and that one of the scenes he described was of him sitting on an airplane next to a middle-aged woman whose son was in Afghanistan. As she shared this and other things about her life to the writer, he began to feel even more strongly that everyone has some interesting and captivating stories to relate. In fact, his life paled in comparison to her situation(s) and experiences.
The blog writer’s post has been on my mind since I read it, just kind of simmering. This afternoon, a couple of overheard conversations brought it to the forefront again. A friend and I had eaten lunch at the Old Armory in Camden (wonderful lunchspot), and afterwards we sauntered over to the new bookstore in town. While we were there, Martha struck up a conversation with a fellow bibliophile, and as they were chatting, she related two incidents that occurred in her life, one as a student at USC and the other that had to do with discovering some original work.
While Martha and her new acquaintance were talking, I was leafing through a book and wasn’t really paying much attention to their conversation at first. The book I was looking at was written by four young men and related many of the things they wanted to do before they died. Judging from their photographs, they didn’t look a day over 30, so I think they have plenty of time to “seize the day” before they die. But get this: On one page, there was a sentence that went something like, “I want to do something interesting enough to write a story about.” (paraphrase)
Oh my gosh. First the blog post, then Martha’s great stories, and then reading this line in a book while listening to Martha skillfully describe two awesome scenes. And those were just TWO stories from her life. And she doesn’t have a patent on stories. You have stories too. And so do I.
I love reading and hearing stories. Pat Conroy says the most beautiful words in the English language are, “Tell me a story.” What do you think? And do you have a story or two to tell?
You know, I agree. When you think about it, “Tell me a story.” is such a beautiful sentence and opens up a lot of possibilities.
You’re so right. Now let’s hear your story.
My students sit up to listen when I say, Let me tell you a story!
That's because they know you're a good story teller!