Monday, January 24, 2011

The First Stories

They are the first stories we hear. Sometimes before we have the language to discern what is being said. They come at the end of a celebration or shared meal when everyone retires to comfortable chairs. Slowly at first, then more rapidly as one story sparks another. They're the same stories, year after year, but always told as though it is the first time.

The oral tradition is alive and well in many families.

What are the stories? Just moments with a little extra something. The highlights. The hooks. The slow build to a surprising finish. The occasional audacious choice or outburst. Pranks played or trouble diverted. Days that weren't like the others.

Even thought the stories are throughly modern, we are linked to the primitive in our means of conveying them. It doesn't matter that it is a coffee table and not a fire that we gather around. The shared experience of the telling brings us all to one point in time. A time when we are joined, we are truly a family, we see the same things, and battles are won on behalf of us all.

And that's how we learn to tell our own stories. The rhythms are established in us before we ever pick up a pencil.

What about you? Has your experience been the same? Do you carry your family's stories with you?

Reader's log:
8. The Blue Girl - Charles de Lint
7. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
6. What the Dickens - Gregory Maguire

Currently Listening:
Rolling in the Deep - Adele


  1. I was brought up on stories! Some I heard so many times I could tell them (word for word) myself.

  2. yes, my grandmother, especially, was full of stories. I remember some very well, and now I wish I could ask her about some of the details, that I either missed or have forgotten. Some stories are at their best, orally, and lose something in the written translation.

  3. I love to listen to my grandparents talk about their childhoods.

  4. My parents were great storytellers. Ask my dad about touring Italy with the Fiat family. Goood story...

  5. those stories become cherished memories when the loved ones are gone!