I was recently asked ‘Are you a story teller?” I had to pause, to first clarify what the inquisitor meant. By her definition, no, I am not a Storyteller. I tell a lot of stories, but I don’t do this for a living nor is it one of my main Archetypes of my psyche. However, it is a vital part of my psyche. Worse luck it isn’t more active.

The archetype of The Storyteller is an ancient one. Since the dawn of time mankind has used stories to entertain and explain things. Hearing the words ‘once upon a time” conjures up nostalgia of childhood memories of our elders telling us tales that were not true but contained Truth. Most of us never grow out of our need for stories.  Savvy leaders know telling a story gets others’ attention far better than merely telling the facts. 

I love stories. I recently wrote about ‘Star Wars’. For all its special effects it is merely another version of The Hero’s Journey. This is no accident. Mr. Lucas carefully planned it out this way, down to the now iconic opening:  

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.  

It sounds like a bedtime story. 

I have plenty of memorized stories from my youth, and I have a handful of my own, and a few I think are mine but it turns out they are not.* Alas, Babylon! I don’t have an audience. I am like an eager actor with no stage. Long gone are the days when I was in Boy Scouts when I was called upon to tell tales by campfire (I wasn’t good at knots but I told a keen ghost story). The niblings are no longer interested in Uncle Spo’s tales.  I want to wear a button “Ask me to tell you a story”.   

People nowadays don’t seem as interested in stories, let alone adore The Story Teller. Mostly they want to talk about themselves or they have the attention span of a goldfish: they want you to get to the point. I may be one of The Last of The Mohicans (there’s a good story!) who relish sitting back and hearing someone tell a story. I wish my job gave me more time for such, for folks have many tales to tell. 

It is no wonder I listen to a lot of podcasts like “Myths and Legends” and my book shelves are full up with fiction and folk tales and such. There’s nothing like a Saturday night at Heorot Johnson II for hearing The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections lay out a saga or an edda. **  

One of the niceties of having a headful of stories is even when no ones wants to hear them, at any moment I can recall them for myself. Indeed, at life’s end, when I have few resources upon which to entertain myself, I only have to conjure up Bilbo Baggins or Jerome the Frog or Pippi Longstalking or even Odysseus (in a pinch) and I am comforted. 

*Sometimes I catch myself telling a vignette that I think is personal, only to realize it was something that was told to me. Just hate when that happens. 

**Slater-Wotan tells a fine yarn – provided he is not too deep in his cups. Herbert, on the other hand, bores us to tears with his ‘adventure stories’ in accounting.