Friday, June 5, 2015

The Power of Storytelling

How many of you know this joke:

 Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence, Pete fell off and who was left. Repeat.

It's funny and annoying at the same time. Especially, when it takes the person a while to get it.

I'm restating this:

Think and Rethink were sitting on fence, Think fell off and who was left. Rethink.

Rethink. That's what I've been doing about my blog and my writing career. In the cross stitch community, when someone has loses their passion for stitching, we say they lost their "Stitchy Bug" and they ask for help to get it back. Especially when you have a BAP (Big A$$ Project) to get done. I have one of those affectionately known as the Damn Dog.
I don't feel blocked exactly. I just feel "bleh." I want to do another Philippa Marlowmellow mystery, because they're fun. I know how the antagonist is going to kill mallows, but I don't know why. The why is pretty important. I finished the first draft of my young adult novel, "The Insignificant Amy Dodd," and was excited about starting the edits and revisions. It's sitting on my desk staring at me.

There is so much more to a writing career than sitting and writing. You have to market, sell, sell, sell. I am not good at that part. I'm trying, but there is not enough time in my day to do it all. It's so overwhelming. If I had a million bucks, I would hire a publicists. 

So back to "rethink."  Printed stories have their roots in the oral tradition of storytelling. Information was passed from one person to another. Histories were kept, and some were just plain fun. 

I come from a background of storytelling. I fell in love with the art when I was on a business trip in Johnson City, Tennessee. I saw flyers about the festival and asked a co-worker. I was intrigued by what he told me and I went to the festival that year. I was mesmerized. Three storytellers stood out to me that trip, Jay O'Callahan, Sid Lieberman and Barbara McBride-Smith. Barbara McBride-Smith told Greek myths with a twist that would have you laughing. She is from Oklahoma and telling those tales with a southern accent had you laughing so hard you would pee in your pants. Sid Lieberman told Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart" that had shivers going down my spine, But my favorite is Jay O'Callahan. His stories take you to his world, entertains you, and brings you back. It's amazing.

From: Sladen, Douglas. "Oriental Cairo: the city of the 'Arabian Nights'". J.B. Lippincott Company: Philadelphia and Hurst & Blackett, Ltd.: London, 1911. p 28.

I tried to be a storyteller, but my anxiety would get the best of me. I once did a story telling gig at a festival. I had an hour. I was done in thirty minutes.

In storytelling, you don't exactly memorize the story, but you know the story inside and out. You practice, practice and practice with recording your voice and in front of a mirror. I hated the sound of my recorded voice, and standing in front of a mirror- forget that. In that moment I knew I wanted to a story creator, not a storyteller.

I know we have to market to get our names out there. I know I have to Tweet, Facebook, and all the other stuff, but I want to do more than push my books. I want to engage with my readers. I want to get to know them. I want them to get to know me. I want to have a relationship. I'm going to do my best at marketing, but I am not going to worry about that anymore. My focus is going to be creating a good story.

I have included a couple of links about Jay O'Callahan. One talks about the power of storytelling, and the other is one of stories. It's from the Pill Hill collection, which is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them.
#storytelling #writing


  1. I hear you. I wish there was a magic button for marketing. I'd push that sucker till it fell off. :)

  2. Marketing is a necessary evil... And I feel like I spend more time trying to entice readers to buy my book than I do writing the next one!