Am I a Storyteller?

This was originally written on March 18, 2013 but never posted.

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I wish you could be here with me. Here at a coffee shop with a view of the gentle tide moving the sand back and forth. And New England-style houses on stone walls lining the shore. With a cup of coffee on the table in front of me. And various languages being spoken within earshot. And a child’s curious tones. and an elderly couple sharing a bowl of soup followed by a cup of coffee. With hipsters in the corner. All of us sit in the small dining area of a locally owned coffee shop. And this is where I am pondering voice. My voice.

A few weeks ago (now months) I took a crash course on story and voice. I wasn’t sure if I would belong because I never felt like a writer. I still don’t feel like a writer. It has never been my strong suit. I am much more gifted in face-to-face communication and building real life relationships with people rather than providing a virtual rant here and there. Elora and Preston taught me that everyone with a story to tell is indeed a writer.

And boy do I have many a story to tell.

Where do I start? What do I say? How do I say it?

The tide is coming in very quickly now. The footsteps left by the playing children have been swept away and replaced by the shallow layer of frigid, salty water.

Part of my struggle as a writer stemmed from ninth grade English class. I had a teacher that destroyed my confidence in anything I put down on paper. The only times I got A’s on anything were presentations. Having been a straight-A student till that point, I didn’t know how to deal with an F, and it took a huge emotional toll on me. Writers don’t fail papers. Writers thrive with prompts.

Or so I thought.

I started writing accounts of my past for an expository writing course last year and I learned how to infuse my writing with more appealing language. When I started my blog about a year ago with a piece I wrote for that class I found I was bitten with the writing bug. But how could someone who was not a writer have a blog?

For a while, I didn’t care about voice, style, or even an overall purpose for my blog. It was my refuge from real life. As I write more and read what other people have to say, what I want from blog has shifted.

Even more so, I am in a crisis of voice.

Who am I–as a person and as a writer? How do I want people to read my stories? How do I want people to perceive me?

Much of my life has been filled with me working on my oral communication. I have done theater for years, sang at my church back at home, and have sung opera in college. Much of my story telling and communication is told through vocal inflections rather than thick language. Many writers and bloggers have brought me to tears with their beautiful word choice. I have never felt like my words can transport someone to where I am.

Blogging loses the aspect of storytelling that I am so good at. Is blogging the place for me? Do I belong in this community?

Yes.

Blogging is so much what you make of it. Yes, it builds off of the written word, but it can be so much more than that. Blogging is what you make of it. I am no longer going to hold myself back by what blogging and writing “should” be, and that’s why I am no longer going to solely post written words but also spoken words.

I have decided to speak some of my posts as a way to incorporate my kind of story telling. I love the way others can move you with their words, but I’m not a typical writer. I’m a story teller and this is what I’m good at.

BeanAndLeaf1

Pondering the Little

It’s days like this that make me ponder. Ponder what a beautiful place I’m in. Ponder the ridiculous people I’m surrounded by. Ponder the little blessings that make me an overwhelmed daughter of Christ.

The shades in my living room are broken. They’re the kind that you pull along a track, the kind you see in your sunday school room, the classic church blind. They don’t rotate open anymore, and they only open about a foot and a half wide leaving a 2-foot space on either side to the darkness.

Even in their darkness they cannot hold back the light.

I sit here on the couch against the wall at an angle to the window with the blinds closest to me only alluding to the presence of light somewhere beyond the unseen threshold. The farther to the left I look, the more I see of the outside world. First a quarter inch, then half an inch a few blinds later, to an inch. The amount of light and life let in by these small sneak peeks warm my heart to a great disproportion for how much it lights my living room.

What a privilege to see the light–no matter how little.

The light has been dim of late with the coming and going of rain clouds and thunderous sounds, but it is back in full bloom with the blossoms on the trees of the shrubs guarding my window. Its scattered presence makes its all-day appearance that much more welcome.

In this room of dimly lit delight, I reflect on my yesterday and today filled with people of wonder. My days have been greeted and farewelled with beautiful people.

I find such joy in hearing people’s stories and seeing their growth. You can’t have one without the other. Without knowing their story, how can you know let alone appreciate how far they’ve come? Without sustaining that relationship, what’s the point of having intruded on their inner-most self? Nevertheless, in the midst of the storm that has been this week–the climax of this semester–I have been given the gift of conversation through so many individuals.

My eyes well up reliving my darkest moments with a contradicting smile spread across my face with the message of freedom. In return, my eyes are are locked on hers’ with our positions having switched.

My ears want to turn up the volume to hear her over the raucous of the surrounding crowds.

The silence is pierced with his low voice sharing little and big fears.

Giggles can be heard outside of her office door.

To a stranger walking past the car it sounds like we are fighting but rather we are fervently expressing our displeasure over the same things.

The dreary weather attempts to combat the joyous tones in their voices as they brag over their dear one.

All of these moments, feelings, and intangibles have been wrapped up in little packages with bows on top just for mine to delicately open when the time is right. What plethora of gifts for this undeserving woman in a time scheduled dread. Thanks to the always loving Gift Giver.

 

Blinds