I’ve come to find out, writing in itself, is nothing more than storytelling. A fairly straightforward concept I know, but that’s the reality of it. So the first prerequisite to be a writer is to simply be a storyteller. And at least that part I have down. I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, and not just the lying type of story telling. That doesn’t count.
My earliest memory of story telling goes back to maybe the third or fourth grade. For some reason the teacher gave me free time to do as I chose (only God knows what she was thinking) and I, being the studious young man that I was, decided that to write a story. A comic book actually. And I did. I wrote a captivating tale about a villain with a skull for a head and buzz saws for hands. (Yes, two buzz saw hands!)
I even animated it, I drew the characters inside little story boards within the margins of the yellow sheets of notebook paper than stapled them together along the edges. It was amazing, even if I do say so myself, but it wasn’t only me who said so. I showed my teacher and she was so… so… I don’t know what she was, I guess “impressed” is the best word to describe it. But she was so, whatever she was that she had me read my story to the entire class. I got to sit up in the front of the class, you know like it was story time and the class sat around me and I read my little story to them all. I would look up between horribly formed sentences and terribly drawn doodles and see eyes wide with excitement and intrigue, waiting in eager anticipation to hear what happened next.
I remember distinctly at the end of the story the Villain or Anti-Hero being violently kicked out of a window and falling to his death, or perhaps not actual death, I can’t remember if I was already planning a sequel or not but you get the point. Skull Head-BuzzSaw Hands goes out the window and my story ends. And afterwards the little handmade comic book goes into the unknown void that was my little desk and was lost for the remainder of the school year. That is until, nearly the last week of school, when everyone is cleaning out there desk and cubbies in preparation for summer vacation, I pulled out this crumpled little yellow comic book, and in retrospect quite foolishly, announced to the class that it was up for grabs before I flung it carelessly into the center of the room. I suppose I was half expecting that no one would be interested in a homemade book and it would go into the trash with a thousand other un-submitted homework assignments, failed spelling test and everything else we would stuff into our desk in hopes of never seeing again. However much to my surprise, my classmates jumped on the crumpled little comic with so much fervor and enthusiasm that it was ripped into a prime number of little pieces and taken by multiple kids as a souvenir for them to remember the school year. Which means they probably forgot it even existed the moment the last bell rang or perhaps they didn’t but I know for a brief moment in the fourth grade I was a storyteller in its purest form. So I guess that’s the feeling I chase now every time I write, to simply tell a story I love and hope that someone else will love it too.
Sometimes I wish I would have kept that little handmade comic book, but I’ve come to realize that’s what stories are for. Not necessarily for the storyteller, but for the tell-ee or the audience, or the reader or whatever the case may be. Once you tell your story, once you get your story out, it’s no longer solely yours alone, but it then belongs to everyone who loves it, and I think I like that.
Till next time,