(Warning: run-on sentence ahead)I have been writing in bits and pieces for most of my life (for a long time it was only when I had an outside reason to write – a deadline or an event), and I have been the person who remembered the details of life, the universe and everything for my family and friends, and I have always loved a good analogy (especially in the sense of connecting things that aren’t obviously connected*, and I have always loved books but I have only been doing literal storytelling for about 7 years.
I got started because a friend of mine asked me to host a storytelling circle when he couldn’t make it and I so thoroughly enjoyed the experience that I went back for more. Now, I see stories and storytelling is the common thread that runs through all of my career interests.
- When I did archaeology, I wasn’t so much interested in the details of the artifacts as in the meaning that they had – I wanted to know the story of the people who used them. I especially wanted to know the story of the women of the past but that was a whole other challenge to face.
- My writing has never been particularly technical, instead I have always been able to find the human part of it, the part that connects and brings you closer to the person I’m talking about. And I can write a story about just about anything, bringing ideas from a variety of situations into a common narrative.
- I’ve been doing monologues for years, telling people about a situation from one person’s (very skewed) perspective.
- My coaching has always been about helping people recognize how the things (’the story’) that they are telling themselves about situations may not be accurate and maybe it’s time to ease up on themselves a little. And I often call on stories from mythology or everyday fiction to make my point or to give people an image to work with.
The funny thing is that, for years, I saw all of my work as separate pieces. I coached, I wrote, I acted, and so on, but they were all separate things. It was only when I changed my focus, scoped back a bit, and looked for the connections, that I realized that it was story that connected everything.
It’s painfully obvious really, and story is the thread that connects a lot of things – we are all trying to create meaning, figure out context and see what the hell is going on – but it was a great relief to say it aloud to myself about my career.
Of course, saying that I’m a storyteller doesn’t even begin to explain all of the stuff I do with stories, but it gives me a place to start.
What kinds of ideas connect the pieces of your career? Are you all about stories, too?
*Seriously, give me any two things and I will find a way that they have a connection or that they can be compared. It’s a very strange skill set of mine.