Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A is for... about

One of the things I love about the internet is the blogging community. You can find just about anything you want somewhere on some blog, proving that none of us are alone. What's more, you can find communities of like-minded bloggers who love to write about their passions and join them.

The blogging community is full of creative people who want bloggers to write, so they post challenges. The problem is I often find these challenges after they've begun, or once they're over. Thankfully, there's really nothing stopping me from taking up a challenge on my own time.

The A-to-Z blog challenge is one of those. It challenged bloggers to commit to covering the alphabet in the month of April. Those who were on the ball signed up, got some publicity and wrote away. I found out about it in mid-April, so while I'm missing out on the publicity, I'm picking up the gauntlet and starting here, in May with A. I'll be posting alphabetically every day except for Sundays. What's more, I'm going to limit myself to storytelling related topics. There's nothing like teaching or writing about something to learn about, so I'm hoping this month of alphabetical storytelling musings will be interesting and informative for all of us. At a minimum we'll see just how far I can bend the definition of "storytelling topics." Stay tuned.

A is for about

Whenever you charge forth to learn and tell a new story, one of the crucial questions you must ask yourself is What is this story about? I'm not talking about the simple plot. Yes, Red Riding Hood is about a girl walking through the woods, disobeying her mother and the consequences thereof. But what is the deeper meaning? What does it mean culturally? Personally?

When you ask these questions the meaning changes. Its about changes. Is it about the perilous road to adulthood? Asking for help? Stranger danger? What does it mean to you?

Spending some time with these questions will deepen your understanding of the story and therefore deepen your telling. You don't have to explicitly tell the audience what it means, but your understanding will effect the way you tell, what you emphasis and how you relate to your listeners.

This applies to personal and organizational stories as well as traditional. We must ask ourselves what the about is so we understand what we are saying and can craft a thoughtful narrative.

It's worth revisiting the about for any story in your repertoire on a regular basis. It may change. In fact, I would hope it does change, as you grow and learn more about yourself and the world.

Storytelling is a living art and, as such, we must not be afraid of the deeper work, the questions, asking just what is it all about anyway.

(c)2013 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Laura:

    I am a learning storyteller. We work with a group of "abuelitos cuentacuentos" , older people who do storytelling in public schools, public libraries and in Casa de la Literatura, an office dependent on the Ministry of Education of Peru, Lima, Peru.

    Casa de la Literatura is

    Is it possible for me to translate your ABC of storytelling and share it with the people. Of course I will quote your name and blog.



True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails