On Facebook | From Our Hearts; Sharing Our Stories | 12 November at 09:43
I love to move stones. I love to pick up stones. Well you see, that’s the difference between a rock and a stone. A rock is where is where nature left it. A stone is when a person creates something with it. That’s why we call them stone walls. I learned that in a book. So I turn rocks into stones. I just love to move stones. I like to put the world in order. And that’s what writers do. They put the world in order. It makes me very happy to do that.
Stories need a listener; I need a listener. Kind of like [drumming]—I don’t practice at home, because it’s a community thing. And the same with stories. I don’t practice my stories on my own. I practice them in front of audiences. Sometimes the first four or five times they’re pretty lame. ‘Cause I can’t tell. If I do a couple of lame ones, I try to do some good ones too. I’ll say, “This is a new story I’m just telling it for the first time, we’ll see how it goes.” And you can usually hear from the reaction. It’s a lot about rhythm with stories. You can hear from the reaction where the punch line is, where to pause, how to sort of time the story—a lot of it’s timing. Go from town to town and take those stories with you; it’s sort of a weaving, a weaving back and forth, one story overlaps another.
People want their stories retold. There’s a real attraction to that. People are excited. The thing about stories is you pass them on. Stories sustain us. They maintain our identity.
A man came up to me after a program and said, “I’ve just had this realization, and I think you’d appreciate it. I have these kids [and] I was always worried about what they were doing, and who they married, and what they did for work. I’ve realized the advice to give is, ‘Whatever you do, make it a good story. Whatever it is that you do, make it a good story.”