Your grandparents (or maybe even your own parents or older siblings) always told the best stories. It seemed as if their seemingly billions of years on the planet so far had all been encapsulated into an endless number of amazing and awing stories that made you second guess that you really knew anything about them at all.
There’s something to say about a person who has good stories to tell. Follow these steps and you too will be able to leave a lasting impression with any sub-urban legend that you decide to recite.
Here is how to become a good storyteller:
You’re a creative. But you’re a special type of creative. You’re not special in the way that what you make is any more important than any other medium – perhaps even less special in that regards in the eyes of some – but special in the way that your medium is a little less obvious. And a lot less tangible.
You see, musicians make music, singers make songs, photographers take photos, writers write, but storytellers… well, storytellers simply just live. They live to do things. Sometimes with purpose, and sometimes with luck, storytellers live to share their experiences; professional glorified dreamers you could say. (Disclaimer: these things are not mutually exclusive! Many photographers, writers, poets, etc ARE storytellers.)
Now that’s fine and all, but at the end when you’re old and you’re gray and you’ve been through it all, will you just automatically have these stories? Well, some people will. Some people naturally live more ‘exciting’ lives, simply by figuring out what their purpose was at an early enough age and having the resources to make the most of that execution. You? You will be the special case that has only one resource to coincide with your purpose: gumption.
You’ll be in a position where people question your intentions. You don’t seem to take anything seriously, and you’ll “waste” your time on acts of spontaneity. You’ll be able to see past the foreseeable “risks” on the top row of the eye chart called ‘life’ to focus on the fuzzy yet existent rewards on the very bottom row (‘1, or 2’). You’re not content with living vicariously. This is the mentality that will land you in some VIP section in some club in some city that you’ve only seen on TV, and the same mentality that will leave you wondering how so many people can be content celebrating with bottles that aren’t theirs. If it’s not your bottles, then you haven’t worked hard enough yet – but, you’ll have a story to tell about that night anyways.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to accept that it won’t always work out; sometimes the story won’t have a happy ending. You’ll accept that sometimes the hot air balloon ride doesn’t happen, and sometimes you don’t hit that game winner. But you accept that as many times as it doesn’t work out, it will work out. You enjoy the gamble. You not only trust yourself, but you trust the process – you understand that you can win the lottery more than the Philadelphia 76ers if you put yourself out there.
You understand that you can’t tell the story if you can’t be there to document it. If you weren’t there, did it really happen like that? You understand that if it didn’t happen like that, that you will from here on out have a responsibility to tell it how it did happen – with a few evolving add-ons that are a byproduct of time and excitement.
One day, you know that you too will be a grandparent and that you’ll hold the civic duty of capturing the young minds of kin and taint them with your minimally exaggerated stories that will be maximally exaggerated by their scale-less minds. For the time being though, you simply live and practice your medium with everyone who mistakenly asks to hear you tell the far-too-long-form version of what happened “that one time…”
Like the fresh prince that I think I am in my own mind, my life has recently been flip turned upside down. I keep having to remind myself that yes, this is real, and no, it’s not an accident. Whatever is happening to be as a product of my medium; I’m a storyteller.
In the past 30 days I have been to 20+ cities, in 3 countries, spanning 2 continents. I’ve logged and endless amount of kilometers, and squeezed into far too many uncomfortable plane seats. I’ve enjoyed a plethora of oversized hotel beds, and snapped enough pictures to fill up a handful of memory cards. I’ve witnessed rappers ride miniature motorcycles, and seen comedians roast their own children. I’ve been to playoff games, and stood front row at every concert I’ve been at.
(Above: Only a few of the multiple shots I’ve taken over the last month or so. Trust when I tell you that the next edition of ‘Throwaways‘ will be crazy.)
None of these are embellishments, and none of these statements are meant to gloat. To me, they’re simply stories for me to tell you about, later (and I do plan to tell y’all about them, soon), in hopes that in return you’ll go and chase something crazy that you can tell me about the next time. Thinking about people who never have the realization of the person that they are meant to be is something that is enough to keep me up at night. If the fact that I have been able to materialize all of these dreams by age 22 is enough to do that for you, then I guess I’ll keep telling stories.
Or maybe I’m just wasting my time, and my grandkids will be too busy on their iPhone 42+’s to listen to my stupid stories anyways.
-A how-to, by Hospey.