“Storycatchers know that the mixture of wisdom and wit and wonder that spills into the room in story space will reconnect us.” – Christina Baldwin
I read this and immediately thought it a perfect definition for a writing group. But then, I realized it applies to every one of us. I am learning this in a class I am currently taking. The instructor stresses we all are storytellers and storycatchers. Family legacies, history, inspiration, who we are, our beliefs, etc. are derived from connection with one another by our stories, be they oral or written. Life, ours, is the story we carry.
After discussion in class and driving home, I thought of how often I was and am taken by communicating with others. As far as being a storycatcher, I am so curious about people that I’ve been accused of asking “too many darn questions.” I just can’t help it. By listening to experiences of others and their personal narratives, it helps me find my way through this life and I bet there isn’t a person out there who wouldn’t agree navigating the world isn’t easy. As far as being a storyteller, don’t we all want to be heard? Be seen? I know I do. It’s human nature to want to share our own story, be it laughter, tears, information and more.
For me, storytelling, true and not so true has a balance. That’s because someone else’s truth may not be yours, nor yours theirs. I’ve been known to exaggerate, or should I say, possess a touch of drama? Maybe more than a touch? Dad used to say that as a child, I would look him square in the eye and lie. He said it drove him nuts. I always figured, why tell the truth if you know the consequences? Who even does that – tell the truth, when they know a negative consequence lays waiting? I just know for me; telling the truth my way was a driving force. I admit, there were some things I did growing up that may have deserved reprimanding. (By the way, as an adult, I think I lean on the telling-the-truth side, although you might have to check with my family).
On my father’s side, I heard story after story from my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even cousins. I knew who I was, who they were and where I fit into the world. On my mother’s side, I only heard bits and pieces of her life, her stories. Her mother died when she was only two and her father just wasn’t able emotionally to care for my mother and her three siblings. As the saying goes, “He just never was the same after she died.” We learned little about our mother’s legacy, her narrative. My question being, why do we sometimes wait until a loved one is gone before we learn about them – all their experiences, their history navigating this world?
Just imagine if everyone’s personal story was valued. It’s reaching for the stars to expect, but as Louis Armstrong sings, “What a wonderful world.”