Storyteller Compared Against Writer

I’ve noticed how often it is that excellent authors may be pretty rotten live storytellers. To be a storyteller who is an orator, one must have the floor and also possess the talent of keeping it. More than just having a good story, they must become masters of gaining control of a room, avoiding hecklers, beating back those who rudely hog the oxygen of conversation in a relentless yearning for the spotlight. Like a great comedian, they must have a bit of a bully in them to claim control of their audience. Whereas an excellent writer may be the complete opposite. They may indeed be shy, reclusive, and hold bullies (even the slightest of them) as beneath their time.

After reading an excellent book of the modern era (not completely impossible) I’ve learned to take great care in stumbling upon video clips of the author being interviewed. Reading their book I have likely created a voice and cadence for them which in reality is utterly different from their true persona. Watching a great writer mutter and stumble through an impromptu question and answer session can destroy their written word for me if I’m not careful.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy comedians and storytellers, but I’m more and more convinced that the kinship between the writer and a storyteller may be very much like the relationship between a songwriter and a vocalist performer. Sure, there are times when a creative can be adequate at both skill sets; there can indeed be singer/songwriters or storyteller/authors, but I often wonder if those abilities for one side of the coin aren’t perhaps antithetical to the other. I wonder if the truly outlandishly gifted creatives in the end must decide which rabbit hole they will descend into and in so doing turn their back on the other.


Between Songs – Remembering Youth

There are really only 2 scenarios under which one would write an autobiography: 1) There is an outcry of interest for it which implies the person is already famous or notorious with a hungry audience of moochers interested in his secret past, or 2) There will never be such an outcry nor ready-made audience for it, but the poor bastard cannot help himself as the stories and anecdotal snippets of life that seem worthwhile and entertaining when told pile up.

One nice thing for me about being firmly unable to generate any type 1 scenario is how I’m utterly free from trying not to let down any fans who think they know me by revealing something that interrupts their being a fan. If I recall something ridiculous or laughably self-deprecating but interesting about my youth which also happens to reveal times when I was stupid or naive or just plain immature, but growing, it is a comfort to know it won’t stymie any sizable audience already garnered about my songwriting or other writings.
With that said, I am actually enjoying spending a little time in collecting my short narrative essays and clustering them into some semblance of theme and order. It is self-indulgent of course, but then again no writer can be anything but.