Last week I had lunch with three women in this cute little European style café. The organizer of the lunch “knew” that we would all get along though this was the first chance we had to have lunch.
What was meant to be out of the office for an hour turned into 2.5 hours of laughter and stories and sharing.
“I hope we weren’t too loud.” One of the women commented.
I had to smile as there is “too loud” and then there is the “loud” that came from our table. It was laughter and fun and completely enjoying one another’s company. Those are the tables that tend to lighten a room or bring smiles to others over disturbing their meals.
The lunch was fun, but it was also enlightening. The three women, all older than me, are storytellers. They are animated with great tone and timing. They are confident in the situations they relate. Masters of the art – and story telling is an art!
I found myself spending more time laughing and listening than contributing to the conversation. Not only are these three storytellers, but they are talkers – over one another, under one another, around one another… the conversation took turns and drifted in directions unimaginable.
I loved it.
I loved the laughter and the company, but I enjoy listening to stories and find myself entertained by, not only the story unfolding, but the gestures and the tones that are part of the telling.
As I sat considering the lunch and anticipating a monthly occurrence with this group – I thought of my own role in groups or at the lunch. How long has it been since have enjoyed a lunch like that? How long has it been since I sat and simply laughed like that – the kind of laughter that involves no noise at all? But, what did I contribute?
Story telling is an art. Some can tell stories naturally while others work to learn to do it. Some cultures value their oral storytellers, while in other cultures, it is a disappearing or lost art. Some personalities are natural at relating situations – taking just about anything and making it entertainment. And some personalities are listeners.
While I can tell a good story, and I am animated and passionate, I tend to be a listener. At a dinner party, I am the woman next to you asking questions, drawing you out, and genuinely interested in your stories and ideas and dreams. I am the circulating person who considers who needs to talk to whom – bringing people together. I am the clever comment and the sharp tongue and the source of banter.
As comfortable as I am with creating stories and with words, one might think that I am a storyteller – and perhaps I am in my own way and after a certain amount of time.
And perhaps my storytelling is more of the one-on-one variety?
Or the story telling that takes the written form allowing me the space to create and work the wording, just so?
And then again, perhaps my stories are more of the creative, imagination based variety – the secrets whispered in the wind, the distant travels and adventures experienced by a grain of sand, or the adventure of riding a dragonfly!
Are you a storyteller?
Tell me a story. I am listening!