Of My Ideal of Storytelling

This is not a poem nor a short story, rather it is another one of those incoherent rambles. But don’t leave yet! It will be interesting (maybe, I hope) and I’ll try to keep it short and to the point, I promise! #PinkySwear

The concept I want to talk about today (or tonight, as it’s already night time here) is storytelling. Ah, storytelling… What a vast subject that could be tackled on so many different angles. I, however, shall tell you about something more specific, something more personal. A dream of mine, to be precise.

As you may or may not know, I have been studying English these past two years and a half, English language (how to speak it good), civilisation (why, when and how English) and literature (English but with a glass of champagne in one hand, a cigar in the other and an accent just as fine as your moustache). It has honestly been a blast, I’ve been having a lot of fun and studied many an interesting thing. Well, for the most part, ’cause, you know, there’s always those one or two classes that you don’t know what they are doing there but you still have to go to even if they are as boring as hell.. (Perhaps a bad analogy here, considering hell is supposed to be pure pain for eternity and that pain is not boring at all, far from it… Well, maybe after a whole eternity, who knows… Anyway!)

Boring classes, yeah, and the fact that I am not too good with the format in general, and that I hate working… I do find the subjects very interesting though, that’s a silver lining isn’t it?

So! As I was staying, studying English. This semester, during which I have been studying in Ireland instead of France because the program of my university required me to go abroad for a semester – that was also great, but a story for another time because I can already feel you dozing off here -, I have had to choose classes to follow. Some that I don’t necessarily have back in France. This has allowed me to study film and its relationship with sound, which was awesome in every way, much more interesting than I thought it would be when I picked it! But also literature (Irish authors and also the romantic genre) but of course Irish civilisation and Irish folklore too!

Those last two were great because I learned a lot about the relationship between the history of Ireland and its folklore, and about not only the content of said folklore (mainly through folk tales) but also about the way an Irish folk tale works and is transmitted. This last part, the study of folk tales was what truly got my attention, leading me back to the subject of this post: storytelling.

We studied the mechanisms of folk tales, how they were built, why they worked, why they appealed to us despite their apparent simplicity and why they had lasted so long, all very interesting things to know but not what I want to talk about here. No, what I want to talk about is the way these folk tales are transmitted and what has got me thinking about the whole storytelling concept. You see, traditionally, Irish folk tales are transmitted orally by storytellers. Now, I know that it is the case in many different cultures and that many different peoples have long used the voice as medium to tell stories, and I have known that for a long time too, don’t worry.

So why did it leave such an impression on me now?, you ask. Well, the answer is long and part of what I like to call the ‘latching point’ (another subject for another time), but I’ll try to make it short: basically I have been struggling to write my stories these past years (and it’s not for trying, though not that hard I must admit), but I have been doing a decent job – I would say – at writing poetry, with more than 500 poems posted here to this day and I have not stopped thinking about them, toying with the characters, the plots and fleshing everything out even more than before. And yet, not even three chapters were posted here for Tales of Ore (in French) in the last 6 months, perhaps in the last year…

That is what has been on my mind lately: realising I wasn’t going very fast nor very far with my novel-writing. It was a realisation that came not all at once but over time, and it did not come alone, it was followed by many questions: was I really passionate about it? Was my method wrong? What could I do to remedy to that? Should I think of other stories to write about if those didn’t work? Should I start over? Should I change the medium? And so on and so one… I must admit, I don’t really have an answer, at least not very clear, to this day. I am still trying to figure out what I can do. Or to act upon it because I know there is only one way to move on: move on. I have to do it, to make myself work on them more regularly.

One thought stuck with me however: should I change medium? I have long thought about turning one or more of my stories into comics (as you may have already seen if you have been following me for some time now), and still do (if anyone is interested to talk about a possible project with me, don’t hesitate!), or into audio series or things like that. A few problems arose. One, I don’t draw well, not well at all. Two, I’m too lazy and discouraged to try to learn at this point (though I may get to it one day). Three, audio series need either a diverse range of voices or actors, and good scripting. Which I am not very good at, at the moment, unfortunately…

So, yeah, not a lot of positive things there. That’s why, learning about storytelling and seeing how people like Seán Ó Conaill (look him up, very interesting stuff! [not Sean O’Connel, the professional fighter though, Seán Ó Conaill and his folk tales]) could create very engaging stories through the power of their voice and their way of telling them. No long period of writing, no struggling before a blank page, just a nice, comfy chair, a fireplace on a winter night and a few people to listen.

Okay, yes, there’s more to it than that. ONe has to know how to tell a story, which story to tell, how to manage an audience and many more things than that. It’s something you have to work on and practise, it’s not as easy as I just made it sound. Plus the stories better be interesting. Also, there are some negative aspects to that: you have to be in front of an audience, which reduces the number of people you can reach at one time, and it’s live so, no messing up. So, yeah. But still, it sounded so interestingly awesome to me because I know what my characters are supposed to do in my stories, what happens to them and how to tell it (in which order, in which context, etc.) and I could actually, honestly tell you the story without much difficulty right now if you asked me. It seems so easy and fun to do and the more I though about it, the more I was attracted to this.

Of course, it’s not that simple because I have never done it before (I am not good at it), my stories are not entirely complete (which could lead to useless storylines or digressions) and I don’t have any people interested in listening to me ramble on for hours and hours. So, this solution, although easier to achieve than a comic and easier to do than some sort of audio series or audiobook, is not perfect and requires practice and other people interested in what I have to say. But, it is interesting. No matter how much I think about it.

I would love, and I mean really love, to have my main story, Tales of Ore, completed as a novel and for people to be able to read it and possibly to enjoy it as much as my. However, at the same time, somehow, the prospect of actually telling this story to people, not just giving them the book or reading it to them but actually telling them the story is very attractive. And so, I have kept thinking about it for the last few weeks/months, playing with it, trying to find ways to make it work somehow.

As I write this today, the best solution I have been able to come up with would be to record myself and to post this fireplace-corner-comfortable-seat-storytelling on a platform like YouTube or equivalent in episodes of 15 or 20 minutes and to tell it orally bit by bit, like once a week or something. Perhaps it would work, perhaps not. That’s for future me to see. I feel I would really love to try it! I don’t know if I’d be good at it, if my stories would be interesting or if the concept would work but I really want to try. Also, I have so many stories to tell that I have material to practise for a looooong time before I run out of things to say, so at least I would probably end up being better at it if I did it.

It would require a few different things, a comfortable chair and a fireplace to begin with, but also some training and an actual plan as to what I am going to tell and how. That is not something I view myself as doing in the near future (meaning the next few days or weeks), I feel that until I come back to France at least, it’s no use trying, but it is a possibility I am seriously considering because it would be such an enriching experience, it would allow me to flesh out my stories even more, to try my hand at something different and new for me, but it would also be a fresh concept (at least I haven’t seen much of anything like this on the internet until now) and maybe, just maybe, it would allow me to actually finish and share my stories… Maybe, with a little hope and faith.

So, yeah, that’s my great dream right now: become a storyteller, an oral storyteller, and to tell the stories I have thought about for years now to people, not by writing them down or by drawing them but by actually telling them. A bit like a new Morgan Freeman, when I think about it… With a far less appealing voice though.

One day perhaps… Who knows? Who nose…?

Any thought, tips or comment on this? I’d love to know what your opinion on this is, if you think it would work or not and if you would be interested in this!

Thanks for reading! (This got way too out of hand again, damn it!)


Also, feedback would be appreciated!

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