Lee Whensley

The Storyteller

Some say that the ability to tell a story is a natural skill. Something that you are born to and not something one could easily learn. Some storytellers choose to undertake course upon course and participate in forum after forum in their quest to discover the true definitions and correct usage of their art.

But when the children are sat around the campfire to listen to the words of the storyteller- their curious ears are not interested in the sound of academia, their open minds hear only the tone of the narration and the power of the words and do not pontificate the terms of ‘qualification’.

Thus, ‘qualification’, is defined in terms of the enchantment of the observer, not on pieces of paper signed by college professors who have culled and lulled words into conformity.

So it is: A storyteller need not worry about the finer intricacies of punctuation and grammar- instead they are more concerned with the relaying of a tale to its audience. The words are merely tools to convey the story and if the listener understands then they have succeeded in their self-begotten task. The beauty of words is that they can mean so many different things to so many different people, in so many different ways. It is a question of interpretation and individual perceptions, not a question of interpretation and individual perceptions, not a question of uniform understanding that defines them.

But all stories will have three things in common and they are not as obvious as needing a beginning, middle and an end- although this could be considered partly true. In truth- each story must have three basic elements that are unquestionable and unavoidable.

The pre-ordained elements contained in all stories are; a journey, a place of centre and a question and no story is without them- even the stories without an apparent journey, centre or question to them. That is the only requirement of any story, but please do not think that these things need to happen in any set order, nor to any pre-requisitely defined standard and know, also, that each element can be continuous, fluid, play only the smallest of parts or be an interchangeable part of everything that unfolds.

Understand, also, that these three things will be present regardless of how hard you try for them not to be; by accident or by design- they will be there. And if some scholar could disprove my words in the writing of a tale, they will be there- nevertheless, in the telling. Once the words take the listener on a journey, from their own centre and the subsequent question becomes theirs to ask and to answer.

It is how they are centred and the journey that they choose to take that will decide their question and nothing else. Destiny has no part to play- even if destiny is the subject of the story, and is merely the pretext used by those who do not want the responsibility for choosing their own journey and wish to deny accountability for their own centeredness. Ultimately others would, also, decide their question for them and reduce the word to a quest.

How our history has filled the battlefields and workshops with the quests of those who were too afraid to take their own journey and instead followed divine guidance and put their faith in great leaders. How our future awaits the fate of generations to come.
Such is the folly of giving oneself up to fate.
That each cannot seize control of their moment and can only aspire to merely follow along as the story continues is the greatest deceit in human history.
The truth is: We can all write our own story.
The question is: Will we?

 Lee Whensley © 2009