Wednesday, May 11, 2011

telling good stories

This week I read one of David Sedaris’ books of short stories, When You are Engulfed in Flames. I’ve read and listened to some of his stuff before, but I just loved taking the time at the end of this week (and the beginning of the next, if I’m being honest) to read some hilariously well-written stories. For those of you who know me well, you know I love telling stories, and have a couple great ones I’ve perfected and like to keep in my back pocket for the perfect occasion (i.e. Seventh grade basketball or the chipmunk incident of Summer 2008, and if you haven’t heard these, ask me sometime!). But David Sedaris, well, he’s got quite a few back pocket stories. The things that happen to him are absolutely ridiculous, but he also tells them in such a way that makes you feel like you were there, or that you’ve met a person just exactly like that someone he’s describing. I love reading his stories because they remind me why we tell stories in the first place. Stories are a way of sharing our view of the world with the people we care about. The way we see the world shows through in how we tell the stories of our lives, in what we decide to observe, in the stories we choose to tell and those we keep to ourselves or even forget about all together. 

When it was my turn to present my life view for my senior seminar class, I decided to sit around and tell stories for my classmates. I told funny stories and more serious ones, all the sorts of stories that have shaped my life and my view of the world. It’s the little stories, the seemingly insignificant experiences of life that end up making up who a person is, I think. We’ve all got those little moments that have become pivotal ones, and I think that those stories are worth telling. In short, that’s what I love about what David Sedaris does - that he can take a bunch of funny little stories and string them together to tell a bigger story about his life and who he is as an individual. And on top of that, to make you bust out laughing over and over again!

I think it’s about time this week to dig into a good novel, as I’m taking a few days of much-needed relaxation post-graduation (yeah. craziness.) My friend Anne gifted me her copy of Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, so I think I’m gonna give that a go for the rest of this week! Looking forward to coffee and an American classic on the deck these next few mornings!

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