Sunday, November 13, 2011


There was a movie, I guess about ten years ago – the name is escaping me – but it had Bruce Willis in it, and the kid who famously said, “I see dead people.” Remember that one? Well, the rest of the line was “And they don’t know their dead.” Recently, I have often had the urge to say, “I see storytellers, and they don’t know that they are!”
In a yoga workshop I was in, the teacher held the whole class in the palm of his hand by telling the stories behind some of the yoga poses and characters from Hindu and Indian mythology that loom large in yogic philosophy. In an English as a Second Language classroom I was about to enter, I watched the instructor bring to life the tale the students were struggling to read in this bizarre language known as English. And as I was getting my haircut, my hairdresser, Ruthie, in her divine use of Spanglish was telling one of the other customers a fascinating tale of the local parking situation on her block. Storytellers all – and they don’t know that they are.
People say all the time, “Everyone can sing!”, frankly, I REALLY disagree with that notion, but I will say that everyone, EVERYONE can tell a story. Some folks might not use dramatic gesture, or change voices, or ever be the person you would pay money to see – but all human beings do have the ability, and I would say, the NEED to tell their tales. When we arrive home at the end of the day, and recount the daily events – is that not storytelling? When we speak of our lives with friends – citing times from our past and upbringing - is that not storytelling? Storytelling is more about connecting than anything else, that’s why there is no fourth wall, that’s why each time I tell a story it is different, because I am communicating with that particular audience, at that particular time. We humans crave that connection, we want to be seen, we want to be heard, and storytelling in all it’s forms does that. Storytelling, now that I think about it, may be one of the few things that EVERYONE does – it is a real commonality amongst people wherever they come from. Sounds a little grandiose, but also, I think, quite true.
So, check it out, have your ears open, and maybe you, too, will hear people telling their stories, sometimes in the most unlikely places, like between downward facing dogs, or clipping off split ends. And maybe you’ll find the urge to say, with eyes wide, and your voice in a whisper, like that kid in that movie (what the heck is the name of it??) “I see storytellers!”

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