The Irish have a word, ‘seanchai’. There are a billion variations of the spelling but it all means the same thing; it means ‘storyteller’. In old times, the stories, traditions and old lore were formed into long stories and lyric poems that were told by the seanchaithe (which is the plural form).
This is me. It’s what I do. I’m a storyteller.
When I told someone this recently, they replied “So you tell lies for a living then?” I was a bit boggled by that. I responded “Actually, quite the opposite.”
I think I proved that yesterday when I presented a seminar on teens and the internet for a group of forty school nurses and counsellors. Afterward, one of the participants bailed me up and said, “You had some really good information and made some excellent points, but what made it great was that you’re a grand story teller.” Another woman said “You make your stories vibrant with life. You’re vibrant.”
It was very flattering but here’s the sneaky truth. The reason I keep coming back to do these seminars is because I LOVE telling stories. The most boring litany of facts can become , if you treat them well, the most amazing story. When I tell that story, the one that weaves all those facts into an engaging tale, I get to come alive. Speaking, actually telling the story is a double pleasure because I get to play off an audience. They gasp, they snuffle with laughter, chuckle over irony and encourage me forward, onward, with the rest of the story. The audience becomes part of the story.
I like to think this is also what happens when I write, that I pick people up, carry them with me into my book, then deposit them neatly, happily, at the end, where they will sigh, close the cover, satisfied but still wishing for more.
Today, I may have accidentally started a new story. I did a library gig about truth and fiction. I did the mandatory PR thing but mostly, I took my group with me on an enjoyable hour and a half journey through the mind of a writer. We laughed, joked, sipped tea and thought we should do this more often.
Now I’ve been charged with the responsibility of starting a writers group. I’m looking forward to it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Mostly, I’m looking forward to a regular storytelling session. Wish me luck!