I’m interested in the stories you choose to tell to friends and family because, without understanding why exactly, they feel important.
There’s a lot of focus on stories now. Ads or pitches must tell a story…or so the story goes.
I’m uninterested in the story Pepsi tells you or in learning how to craft such stories.
I am interested in the stories that your grandmother told you.
I’m interested in the stories you choose to tell to friends and family because, without understanding exactly why, they feel important.
This is the first in a series of posts that aim to tell the Story of these Stories. I begin with the genesis of my love of storytelling.
Six times a year, the families of the eight children of my great-grandparents got together. I remember the first time it occurred to me that the tales being told by the ‘old’ folks after mid-afternoon dinner could be more interesting than chasing the other kids up and down the stairs. I was around 7. By the time I was 9 or 10, I was a convert, staying with the stories rather than dipping in and out during play.
During late adolescence, the path of stories became a more serious business.
I grew up in idyllic small-town America. It actually was that semi-mythic land of the 50’s sitcom. It was religious, industrious, and patriotic…a land of Boy Scout values and I was an Eagle Scout. We strove to be obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The ’60s kicked me out of the garden. The ’60s dropped like a bomb. Images of America came pouring in and revealed all the stories I’d been told were suspect and deeply untrustworthy if not deliberate lies. Even my much-loved grandmother had been feeding me a mash of treacherous platitudes. Beneath the veneer lived a racist blood-stained empire. And I was complicit.