The Story Teller

Today the crows came squawking at my window like an alarm clock.  I figured I’d better get up so they would be quiet, because that made complete sense in my half sleep state.

But it worked, the minute I slipped out of bed. . . off they went, to go wake up the next person on their list.

I’ve been thinking of my dad a lot recently.  We’ve not really been in contact a whole lot these last years.  I’ve been nose to the grindstone in pulling myself apart, cleaning off the pieces, and then carefully trying to reassemble them back into a whole. . . so I’ve not had a whole lot of contact with anyone really.

A couple of days ago, I was reminiscing about the cartoon characters my dad draws.  He has his very own unique style of drawing that I just adore.  They are almost like caricatures, in that they are so expressive of the character’s personality.  I miss those.  I loved them when I was younger, but I didn’t have enough life experience or understanding to truly appreciate them like I do now.  I didn’t understand how much they told about the man who drew them.

Yesterday, however, I was remembering my favorite thing of all about my dad.  See, he loves to read.  Not something you’d necessarily expect from a man born and raised in the humble Appalachians, but boy am I thankful he does because they led to the most memorable things from my childhood.

He would read books by authors such as Stephen King,Terry Brooks and Robert McCammon.  Usually a mix of mystery, paranormal, horror, and far off worlds.  But the best part, was when I’d ask him what the book was about that he was reading.  He didn’t just give me a two sentence summary, or read the book jacket. . . no.  I could rest assure that I was about to be propelled into another world entirely.

He would set the scene and the characters.  He would retell the story in a way that would give any of those authors a run for their money.  The world around us would dim and disappear, putting us into a magic bubble that would whisk us away to observe the story being told firsthand.  Between his ability to weave a good tale and my vivid imagination, I got to explore more rooms of the universe than is probably even fair.

His eyes would sparkle.  He seemed like a magical character himself, as if being the story teller was only a humble disguise he used to keep everyone from finding out who he really was.  And that he was really from one of those other worlds, but he couldn’t come out and say it because people here wouldn’t believe him, so he masked it in stories.  Or maybe he was in hiding from one of the dark characters in the story, and being in a world that had forgotten that magic was real, was the perfect place to hide.  It always felt like he knew so much more than he ever said.

He always made me think of the bards of old.  The genuine, skilled, talented, and oh so loved Story Teller.  He seems almost out of place in this world.  There are books, TV, movies, internet. . . more ways than ever to tell a story.  But.  When was the last time you sat down in person with a truly gifted story teller, and listened to them spin a tale?  Hearing the different intonations of their voice, and feeling the chills of the pivotal moments in the story.  Eyes glued to the person, but feeling like you are actually in the story with them.  Having a spell weaved around you, that will make you believe in the impossible and the unseen again.  You’ll know without a doubt that there is more than meets the eye in the world you live in.

A true Story Teller, speaks with their Heart.  Is full of Life and Passion.  They have Hope.  They still Believe.  They feel deeply.  They are dramatic and subtle all at the same time.  They don’t just tell a story, they embody it.  They draw your focus to the story and not them.  They are merely the messengers of something bigger that wants to be shared.  They have to feel in big and multi-faceted ways and be flexible enough to move into whichever one is needing expression at that moment in order to do the story any justice.  They have to get out of their own way.

Ironically, it was when my dad was telling these stories, that the real him would shine through the most.

My dad is also the one who first introduced me to computers back in the Tandy 1000 days, which plays a large part in why I’m in the field I’m in today.  I blame him for my love of Excel Spreadsheets.  ; )

But, nothing he did will ever mean more to me, or have played a bigger part in helping to shape the person I am today, than the time he spent in response to my question, “What is that book about?”

My dad