Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Telling Life: Uncomfortable

What follows is a lightly edited repost, originally published in 2013 as part of my storytelling alphabet. I hope you find it useful.

It's easy to do what's comfortable. For instance, I love telling fairy tales. I love telling twisty, difficult, dark fairy tales. Some people find this surprising, they think it must be hard to tell these stories because they go in such odd places. It's not. It's very comfortable. Equally, I love original fiction. I love creating worlds and inviting my listeners in.

What's uncomfortable, for me, is telling personal stories. For years I avoided it, telling any kind of fiction, myth and folktale instead. I told people I didn't have any personal experiences to tell stories about. It was so uncomfortable I turned down gigs instead of revealing things about my life in any kind of factual way. Eventually a kind friend helped me craft some stories from my life. Light ones at first and then increasingly difficult stories. It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't comfortable, but spending time with that discomfort and working through the problems telling these stories presented made me a much better storyteller. What's more, I've embraced opportunities I might have otherwise found too uncomfortable to grasp. I've made friends and shared art I would never have had access to had I remained comfortable.

When we go to the places where we are uncomfortable, we grow. It's the same thing when we use our bodies; we need to be a little uncomfortable to build new muscle and endurance. Try using storytelling in new ways. Try telling the kinds of stories that are challenging. Try telling to audiences you might have avoided. Tell from an uncomfortable perspective. Find safe ways to do so and you will grow. What was uncomfortable might become your new favorite thing, you may have a new adventure. At a minimum you will stretch in new ways, learn new skills, and know your limitations are further away than you thought.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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