Wherein I Wax Poetically About Storytelling
I have no training in writing, the fact that people find anything I write the least bit interesting is always amazing to me. I’m not a writer, but I love to tell stories. They’re my go-to secret weapon in a social situation. Other people may have the ability to talk about politics, world events or pop culture – but me? I tell stories. I don’t hold anything back, either. I am all in when I tell a story. You know what? I almost need to be standing the entire time because I also talk with my hands and, depending on the story, there may be demonstrations and/or impersonations. Occasionally props.
When it comes down to it I like to connect with people at a very personal level. I won’t lie, some people are VERY uncomfortable with that. I recognize this and own it, I am not for everyone. It’s not so much that I don’t have a filter to keep my personal anecdotes from tumbling out of my mouth, it’s more that I see no reason to keep them in. There are very few questions that I won’t answer if asked directly. I may not answer them in front of a large crowd or anything, but I’m a really open person and figure there’s not much to lose. If something I say is going to chase you away, it’s better that we find out now, right? Not five years down the road when we’re sitting around my kitchen island (in this scenario I like to imagine that I have a kitchen large enough for an island) having a nice chat and all of a sudden THE THING is said and THE TOTAL-HORRIFICATION-ITUDE happens and where does that leave us?
Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde
My seemingly neverending desire to blather on and on (and on) lends itself well to this hobby, though, which is just one of the many reasons why I don’t mind the fact that I’m a hot mess of a chatterbox. But I routinely run across people who say things like “I feel like everything I write sounds stupid” or “I’m just not witty” or “They’re all going to laugh at me”. The thing is, we’re talking about your family/friends/pets here. They already know most of your dirty little secrets. (And frankly? In the case of your pets, they can’t read and they’re going to feel the same about you regardless.)
If you have a weird sense of humor in real life, that sort of thing is not going to shock them on a scrapbook page. If anything, it’s going to make them love it even more. If you’re a bad speller or have horrible grammar, you’re not fooling anyone. Now is not the time to re-write history – your family KNOWS. Chances are, they’ve even told other people. And they still return home every night after school, after work, they sit down and eat dinner with you, they kiss and hug you goodnight.
It doesn’t really matter how you say it, it only matters that it’s said. You have the opportunity on every page to place a little bit of yourself on there like any other element. A scrap of paper here, a button there, a scatter of flowers, and then right over here … all my love. The little things I noticed that maybe I didn’t tell you at the time. The joy/pain/excitement/sadness that was on my mind, but maybe I didn’t quite feel ready to share. The way this moment reminded me of the past, made me more aware of the present or made me look forward to the future. Maybe all three.
In my creative process, I call these portions of the page my “Little Love Letters”. I even wrote a Little Love Letter ABOUT my Little Love Letters a few days ago.
CREDITS: Correspondence by Paislee Press & Leora Sanford (available HERE)
LITTLE LOVE LETTER: People ask me what my favorite part of scrapbooking is and it’s this. Writing on your pages – each one a little love letter from me to you. I don’t always know exactly what to say in the moment, and I’ll admit I’m not the best at getting my point across on the first try – or even the second or third. And at your age you don’t have the attention span or the patience to sit around waiting for me to get to my destination. A lot of times you don’t want to hear the mushy stuff, and I completely understand because I have a hard time accepting compliments, too. So this is where I can pour out my heart to you, page after page. If ever you doubt how amazing I think you are, let these pages serve as a testament to my undying, unwavering adoration of you. Love Always, Mom.
I’ve shared in previous posts that I was a reluctant storyteller. I had a list of excuses why I didn’t feel comfortable doing it, most of them revolving around my own self-consciousness and I had to come to terms with that. But then I asked myself, “Self? Are you NOT the same woman who will make an absolute fool of herself in front of a crowd of people JUST to make someone that you love laugh?” That’s me! I routinely (much to my family’s dismay) get myself into all sorts of ridiculous situations where I risk bodily harm and what remains of my dignity for no better reason than to make my son laugh. So I made the effort, little by little, word by word, page by page. And when I turn the corner into our living room and see my son sprawled out on the floor with his albums, reading page after page of Little Love Letters that I’ve written to him I know with absolute certainty that I was right when I chose to not let the self-consciousness win.