Telling personal tales can be a challenge. Perhaps you have never had a grandfather that “wrestled and tamed a moose!” Maybe all you had was a grandfather that had a unique item in his den or office? But, who needs hear something so simple, so ordinary?
I think the answer is: almost everyone.
Recently we posted in the Amphitheater a complete performance of family tales by Priscilla Howe. You can get there by clicking on the words ON STAGE at the top of every page at Storyteller.net.
One of the powers of Storyteller is the ability to call out the Story in our own lives. The four stories that Priscilla offered in “Stories for Grown Ups” are the kind that could make you think, “That reminds me of the time...” Let the simplicity of the stories elicit in you the memory of the grandparent, the gentle teasing and camaraderie of the siblings, the conquering of childhood and adult fears and the triumph of overcoming a mistake. When you do this, you are experiencing the power of Storytelling.
So often, I’ll hear tellers say that their own “personal tales” aren’t interesting or aren’t funny enough. Priscilla Howe is an excellent teller but the power of her “Stories for Grown Ups” is not in the wildness of the tales or her good skills as a teller. The power is not in the “can you top this” feel that so many personal tales seem exude. Rather, the power in Priscilla’s contribution to the Amphitheater this week is in the simplicity of the telling that helps all of us to remember some part of our growing up years. With good personal tales, we are not called to gaze on the teller reflected in the mirror of story, but rather to stand next to the teller and see our own reflection and stories along with the teller.
Sure, “moose wrestling” might be funny and really entertaining. Isn’t it also as authentic to encounter our memories is in the simple stories- the stories that make us think, “Me, too?”