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On Becoming a Story Teller



So, this week, I thought about when I first became a story teller:

When I was eight years old, my grandfather gave me a book to read:

The Uncle Remus Tales, in particular, Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

I remember when he gave it to me, he asked me if I could understand the story that was being told as I read it. I didn’t want to disappoint him, so of course I said yes, not really knowing if he would ask me a slew of questions when I finished the book or not.

By the time I got done with Br’er Rabbit and the stuff that he got into, I was hyper to tell my grandfather about the book.

But he didn’t want a book report.

He wanted me to tell the tales in my own words.

You see, I had always had the “gift”, as my grandfather put it, of telling stories and tales to entertain people, and he remembered a tale that I made up off the top of my head, so he figured that he would test me to see if I could take a tale like the one from the Uncle Remus Tales and make it my own.

I was eight years old, of course I didn’t know the first thing about writing a story like the one I’d read! But, the funny part was, I could rattle it off to him off the top of my head as if I had written it down… and he enjoyed every minute of the tale that I told about two mice trying to trick a cat into a trap they’d set for him.

I can’t remember that story for the life of me right now, but I caught the bug, and it was on from there!

I went from speaking the stories in my head to writing them down as my mind saw it. I wrote stories in high school, wrote some more stories in college, even while majoring in something else entirely different, and I’m writing them now. What’s crazy to me is that the ideas play out like movies in my head, and it’s easy for me to figure them out, I honestly don’t know why that is.

But I have my grandfather to thank for putting me on the path to becoming a story teller.

I’m not a great writer, although I do have my days, but I can come up with a great story or two.

I see it in my daughter from time to time when she sees me writing and she begs me to help her write a story, and I think back to being her age and getting the book that started me on the path that I am on now.

Maybe… just maybe… I might continue the cycle and have her tell me a story. You never know what might come of it.

She might be the next great story teller.

Shakir


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