Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Storytelling



I hosted an online Usborne party to get a great deal on some homeschool books for the kids, then loved them so much I even signed up as a consultant so I can get a discount on future orders. I got a few for right now and a few for down the road, but the one I am perhaps most excited about is My First Story Writing Book.

It’s aged for 6+ but that’s never stopped us before.

A loves storytelling. He loves “reading” to C, telling her stories as they look at the pictures in a book together. He loves lying in his bed at night while B lies in hers, each taking a turn to make up a story for the other before they fall asleep. And he loves writing a journal story every Friday. He draws a picture in his special green writing journal, then I write down (word for adorable word) whatever story he narrates about the picture.

I love so much that we share this common interest. Maybe someday we’ll take a weekly creative writing class or have a weekly coffee shop writing date together… or maybe writing will just be a fleeting interest that’s soon replaced with woodworking or painting or soccer.

Either way, it’s so important to me that my children know how to write a story.

My family history is overflowing with rich stories whose details long ago died with their would-be storytellers.

There were long journeys on boats that would bring nervous emigrants to America. Did he already have a job lined up or did he worry himself into an ulcer about whether or not this really could be a better start for his family? Did she wear her best dress on the boat? Was it a sky-blue calico pattern? Was there a tiny hole in the sleeve which she worried over and fiddled with until it was a big hole when they got off the boat? Was it hot and sunny? Cold and rainy? Did anybody get sick? Did they pass time on the ship by reading, working, playing a board game?

There are beautiful love stories. There are juicy black sheep stories. There is even a great adventure story, about a baby who was kidnapped by Native Americans and later rescued by her father. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give to have more details in that story. There are wedding stories, birth stories, death stories.

What great stories did we miss out on? Maybe somebody found Jesus in prison. Maybe somebody once escaped something in the dead of night. I bet somebody invented something amazing that was never patented or wrote beautiful music that’s now long-gone. I bet somebody lived with a chronic illness or a debilitating injury and spread hope and inspiration wherever they went. Maybe somebody lived a double life, had two full families who knew nothing about each other. Maybe somebody killed someone, and maybe they got away with it.

I know with certainty about a preacher, a mechanic, a military man. I know somebody wrote a book, though I don’t know how well it faired. What don’t I know about? Teachers? Doctors? Spies? Restaurant owners? Police officers? Is my family filled with people who have done great things? Great people who have done small things? Ordinary people who lived simple, happy lives?

What were all these people, these people who led to me, what were they good at? Where did their passions lie? Who was a sculptor? A runner? An amazing saxophone player? Did anybody start a charity or an impressive organization? Who won first prize in every quilt show or bake-off she entered?

I know that history repeats itself. I know there were other writers (some published, some not) and I know there were all kinds of mothers and wives and Christians. Were there dancers before me? Homeschoolers? Awful singers? Who carried the same sins I carry? Who else bore my freckles and wrote down all their stories and dreamed of a quiet life in the woods?

These were people, real people, with unique personalities and with the same kind of boring-exciting life most of us live. I would love to know more about them.

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