Just one story

A friend was telling me today about a storytelling class he took. It ended up being a much deeper experience than he was expecting, because it turned out that you couldn’t just get up and tell stories.

Rather, the teacher insisted that each story needed to come from a true, personal, and emotionally significant experience in your life. At first, my friend said, most of the students didn’t think they had much to tell.

But after some digging, it turns out that everyone had quite a few such stories. And finding those stories, then finding a way to tell them out loud, invariably turned out to be rich and powerful experience for everyone.

Hearing this got me to thinking. Suppose you were to go through the effort to dig up your own personal stories — the ones that were most deeply powerful for you. If you really did the work needed to call them up, you would probably end up with quite a collection.

And then suppose you could choose just one among them — the one personal story that meant the most to you, the one nearest to your soul. That would probably be quite a story indeed.

If we were to take everyone’s chosen story, and we collected all those stories together into a single book, it would make for one hell of a book. I don’t know about you, but I would love to read that book.

4 Responses to “Just one story”

  1. Po Bronson’s book “What Should I Do With My Life?” has a little of this flavour. He interviewed 200+ people who’d made huge changes in their life – they’d battled cancer, or gone off to war, or a relative had passed away, or they’d moved countries, or they’d gotten divorced and changed career. And he published some dozens of those stories. The stories are detailed and, in many cases, capture great anguish and challenges, triumphs and failures. Not every ending is happy (or sad); most are complex and nuanced. It’s a good book.

  2. Sharon says:

    Do you think you could choose just one? I imagine that after one has lived a while there are several equally significant stories.

  3. admin says:

    Wow, that sounds like a great book! I will look for it.

    I agree that it would be very difficult to choose just one from among one’s own stories, yet one reason to choose just one story is so that all the stories will fit in the book. Maybe, in the case where a person cannot decide between their own stories, other contributers could vote for the one story from that person which they found to be the most powerful.

  4. Denise says:

    Chicken Soup for the Soul!

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