I describe myself as "a notorious storyteller." If you don’t believe me, look at my tag line at the bottom of the column. See? I told the truth. Storytelling is not about lying. Storytelling is all about simplification. A storyteller takes a complex truth and makes it accessible for the rest of the world. OK, some of the truths aren’t really that complex. Some are trivial. But that’s what it means to be a storyteller: Always be ready to create a new world of adventure, mystery, fun and discovery. That’s what I like best in life. I must tell stories.
If you were to hang around in my house, you would hear some insane stories. You would also be given a restraining order, but that’s not the point of this column. I have created an entire world of make-believe characters for my youngest son. Since he was 2 years old, we have each contributed to an on-going storyline. Basically, we have created a fantasy world that makes A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh look like the latest Congressional Record. Our characters are neurotic. We have a fish who sees fire everywhere. He is constantly seeing restaurants engulfed in flames, when in fact, it’s just a kitchen exhaust fan. We have a snake who is a pharmacist, always peddling the latest Big Pharma has to offer. As a benefit of his elevated profession, he gets to wear special clip on ears — a bit of irony for a snake. We have a tick who works at the blood bank and is never satisfied cleaning up spills. He longs for more exotic jobs. We have a loudmouthed rabbit who talks in a Bronx accent, twin Italian snakes who constantly violate the law, and a fox who serves as the wise one, offering truth to the whole menagerie. These animals often address issues that my son faces at school: bullies, cheaters, excitement, homework, etc. Our stories are parables for open discussion. We can explore why Bob the Goat got in trouble ("He ate everyone’s alarm clock! That’s stealing!), and then bring the same clarity to a particular challenge in the real world. We are living the storied life, using stories to learn and grow.
Storytelling is close to my heart, and tonight at 6:30 p.m. as one of the performers signed up at the Storytelling event at the Old Towne Gallery and Studio, it may just make me sweat.
Come see some fine storytellers. And look me up too. I’ll be the guy laughing at nothing… and everything.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.