"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman.
Recently my Ancient Civilizations teacher gave out an extra-credit opportunity in which we would listen to a storytelling microphone night hosted and presented by some students at our school. At the time, I thought that the idea would be great—great for my grades. If extra-credit is being offered, it’s one of those things that needed to be snagged off the bat like a blotchy-faced, sweaty palmed six-year-old. All right, it was just an hour long of listening to stories. It wasn’t that bad.
Boy was I so wrong.
Imagine the scenery that I was placed in before the actual program began. I am inside a theater which seated about 100 people in plastic yellow chairs whose cold bottoms folded up and their legs bolted down the floor, lined up in rows that are reminiscent of a performing arts theater. The lighting in the room was a warm one—not too red or too green, as the gym’s lighting unfortunately was—and a girl seated behind a lady who needed a microphone stand and headphones to assist her listening. She helps the woman as a program of the night kept slipping to the ground. “Butterfingers!” the girl says.
That girl, if you haven’t figured out yet, is me.
Enough with the third person narration. To be back at school at seven o’clock in the evening would be absurd to some people, but I loved this night of it. I loved the feeling of being out of my house past seven and doing things that I usually don’t do. I felt as if a part of a mysterious cult, but a good one, for being out. After seven when I’m outside makes this excited rush go through me, something that I have not felt in a very long time.
The emcee introduces the audience to a local school folk band. As the band places, seven storytellers slide onto the stage and sit down in black chairs located to the right of the band. One thing that I noticed of the storytellers’ faces was that they were frowning. Some frumpy people, I thought.
Then it was time for the stories to be unfolded. The speaking commenced, and I have got to tell you, I was shocked and moved. The stories that were told were evoked with such powerful and raw emotions: sympathy, laughter and sincerity flooded through me. I won’t say what some of the stories are or the summaries of them, but to try to convey to you, readers, the power of storytelling that these guys had at that moment is indescribable. At the end of the program, I applauded and cheered.
Unless you yourself have been to an open mic night of stones before then the feeling would just be hard to relate to, but I will try my best to say what I felt. Going to this event made me realize the power of storytelling vocally. I’m rubbish at speaking stories. Writing my thoughts in words seems to be more fitting. When I speak for people, I think. I cough. I chug my water bottle and sputter. I will continuously do this cycle until people are fed up with me or I somehow miraculously manage to get to the end of the speech.
The story about this video that I took a photo of above is weird.
Eccentric, but so much happened in the video (I won't stay why one of the guys is covering up their eyes). The photo is blurred to try protect their identities.
I was also be able to begin to fully comprehend not just the power of storytelling, but the amazingness of moments, miracles, and really, just life. There were some people who came to the event but didn’t like the stores because they weren’t compelling or weren’t their tastes. Not everyone likes everything, and that’s the way it us. Our lives are all different, but I think that is why the world is beautiful.
I’m going to incorporate math into what I am about say. Just bear with me, I shall attempt to not make your brains hurt. Let’s use an example and start off with you. Then, let me place you in a room of 500 other people. If you talked to every single person, would you have the same lifestyle as they do? Probably not, but there are some similarities that you may share with people, and there are other parts of your own life that you uniquely got to experience. You may have experienced a time when you were scared out of your wits and ran away, but you might have not had your coach’s car pull up in the middle of the workout causing you to run back to school screaming and laughing.” (I unfortunately got to experience this, but it’s seriously hilarious.)
I just talked about experiences that involved interactions with other people! What about experiences with inanimate objects, like a mountain, or a love for a pet? Stories of our lives are just intricate delicate things. That’s why I enjoy blogging so much, why I laugh every time I tell a story that happened last Easter. There is nature, but to narrow things down to some of the simple human experiences can be unforgettable.
So, tell me, what’s your story?