Not everyone is a storyteller.
Not everyone wants to be a storyteller. Make no mistake, however; we all love a good story. We love to be swept up in what is the heart and soul of any good story: conflict and resolution, drama and comedy, peril and heroism, love and laughter. These elements exist in everything that we do because they are second nature to the human condition. And what is storytelling if not the portrayal of the human condition. We are emotional creatures, and most good storytelling plays upon the emotions of our audience, whether they are holding a book in their hands or seating in a seat in a theater.
The best storytellers have a gift for tapping into our emotions and letting us inside the jeopardy that is inherent in most situations and every relationship. In other words, it’s about being real. If you want to be a storyteller, being real is the first and most important prerequisite.
Books are my favorite vehicle for storytelling, though not every book represents good storytelling. The movies attempt to convey a story in two hours. Some are successful, some are not. The theater is much the same. Art? Well, there are lot of artists who proclaim themselves storytellers, but not every painting, sculpture, or piece of pottery rises to that level. For my money, it doesn’t matter. If you make the attempt to write a book or a poem, create a script or produce a movie, act in or direct a play, pick up a paint brush or mold a piece of pottery, you’ve taken a risk in the creative world and ventured into the realm of storytelling. That in its own right is a success.
The best storytelling comes from a place of truth; it is genuine. It comes from a place of sharing. If your goal is to garner attention, then you’re neither genuine nor truthful. The recipient of a story – the reader, the viewer, the observer, the listener – know truth and authenticity when they see it or hear it.
When all is said and done, storytelling has a human quality to it. It can be both universal and timeless. Those are pretty significant traits and make venturing into the role of storyteller pretty special.
Yes, it’s also a place of vulnerability, but what isn’t. The best stories are about overcoming vulnerability and pushing beyond what makes us comfortable.
Why not try it sometime.