No Summer Slump
So, summer is here, school is out, and people are off in different directions going on vacations. Things seem somewhat quiet, don’t they? Why even the traffic in town is a bit less congested because of the absence of school buses making their rounds twice a day.
Ah, but storytellers, stay alert. Summer is not a dull or dry season when it comes to stories. Listen and watch the world around you. Look for those moments where a story is forming and take a few notes so that you can develop your tale later.
Here are a few practical habits to help you capture stories this summer:
1. Keep a Bits Journal. This is a listing of interesting details that might be used in future stories. Storytellers are keen observers and keeping a journal will provide a storehouse of potential material. Entries might include interesting observations, details from your everyday life, snippets of overheard conversation, memories you are interested in exploring, etc.
2. Visit an art museum. Take in the art and ask yourself, “What does this make me think of in my own life?” Often art begets arts. Surrounding yourself with beauty and creativity will often remind you of something that would make an interesting story.
3. Visit family members. Talk about shared memories. Enhance what you remember with the new details offered by their memory of shared experiences. This informal research will prove valuable if you decide to develop one of these memories later.
4. Take a vacation tour of your childhood places. Visit the home you grew up in, the school you attended, the neighborhood park where you played. Record any memories these places inspire.
5. Be on the lookout for stories everywhere. It may be that while you are digging through your garage looking for that lost life-jacket that you will find a special treasure or beach toy that will stir up a memory asking to be nurtured into a tellable story.
There’s no telling where you will find a story. Nope. When it comes to storytelling, there is no summer slump. Keep your eyes and ears open for your next story. It is just waiting for you to see it, and it is waiting to be told. Happy summer – happy story gathering!
Robin Schulte and Wanda Violet