The Role of the Storyteller

I watch Harry’s Law, partly because the character Harriett (Harry) Corn is not young and whip thin. She’s a criminal defense lawyer, who also owns the shoe store on the street level of her building, and is feisty as all get out. Sure, the story lines often stray from reality—no, on second thought, they’re probably as real as the scripted shows disguised as reality TV.

Anyway, I’m particularly glad I watched this week. One of the two cases in the episode concerned a British man under threat of extradition for a crime he’d committed twenty years earlier. In the years since, he’d moved to Cincinnati and bought a tea shop in a depressed neighborhood where he entertained his customers with tall tales.

Many of these customers came to court and testified in the shop owner’s behalf, saying how much he’d enriched their lives with his stories. In a moving defense to the judge, one of Harry’s associates illustrated how the man provided a humanitarian service to his community. He pointed out that the shop owner had taken his customers to places they’d never be able to go, given them adventures they’d never experience, made them laugh and given them hope.

I took that to heart. Since I published The Brevity of Roses, a  few people  have insinuated the book was beneath them, it was only a love story, fiction for the masses. Yeah. It’s fiction for real people. I won’t apologize for that. I’m real people. I won’t apologize for that either. I’m proud that I told my story to so many who let me know they liked it—loved it, even—and I’m happy I could transport them out of their life and into my imaginary world for a few hours.

So, I raise my cup to all the storytellers who’ve enriched my life. How small it would be without them. Won’t you join me?

22 thoughts on “The Role of the Storyteller

  1. My cup of tea is in the other room, but I will raise my bowl of Cheerios with a hearty, “Hear, Hear!” What a lovely post, Linda; I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment.

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  2. There will always be those who think nothing of cutting someone else down to a size they feel they can easily chew and spit out.

    If people would think about someone walking into their place of business and proceeding to tell them they suck at their job, and how they should give it up because it’s dumb or stupid or not up to an expectation they have, and then slap a one- or -two star rating on top of their forehead, well, I wonder what they’d think about that *laughing* But seriously, we are in a business where others judge our work and thus we think we are being judged, which is another reason not to read reviews.

    Oh, and the flip side of your musings is this: some people tell me I should write something besides “literary fiction” because “literary fiction” does not sell and “popular fiction” does. Ugh. Can’t please everyone! And your book is beautiful, so there! 😀

    You know, that would make a great book – the man in the tea store. 😀

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    1. I thought that too, Kat, which means there are probably forty-eleven such books in the works right now. 😉

      Oh yeah, I don’t let those look-down-the-nose remarks bother me anymore. We common folk are smarter than the snobs think.

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  3. Here! Here! There was a little bit left in my bottle of Coors Light that I just raised into the air. If that isn’t enough, I could open another. 🙂
    Yeah, I don’t know who these idiots are who claimed what they claimed concerning your book. It has simply been my experience that “good” is “good”. And your wonderful book is way above “good”, my dear friend. Sometimes people just can’t see it, you know?
    *raises bottle* Here’s to the storytellers!
    -Jimmy

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  4. I suppose that all the great storytellers that come from the south would also be beneath “them”. To each their own, right? I think not. Perhaps those people have simply forgotten to take an inventory of each person’s strengths and assign to each part its rightful value.

    I prefer to think the community of storytellers is like a machine and all the parts must be fitted together for it to work properly. The way I see it: the process works like this: There are bolts. They are strong, solid, forged in the fire with intent of holding the pieces together, and then there are the nuts. Although smaller, and insignificant in stature, without them the bolts are simply useless. They serve themselves only and have forgotten their intended purpose.

    I raise my cup to you! (and everyone else. 😉 )

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  5. Your book was SO much beyond “just a love story.” I think I avoid reviews mostly because I get frustrated with readers who only read on a surface level – when there is so much more to be explored. I definitely raise my cup to the storytellers, especially ones like you! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Michelle. 🙂

      Yes, I’ve read a Brevity review or two and found myself saying, “But I think you missed this and what about that, and did you notice …” Of course, I too can only read what I’m able to receive at that time, which is probably always less than what the author wrote—or different, at least.

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  6. Unfortunately the country is full of intellectual snobs who seem to think only the prize winning literature is worth their time. I say, fine with me. I read for entertainment, not to ponder the universe. That’s why I love writers like Jennifer Cruise and Janet Evanovich. I figure the real world is difficult enough without having to add to my worries. Life is too short. I read for enjoyment, I read to escape, I read to feel emotions different from my own. If I wanted to learn something every time I picked up a book, I’d go back to school. 🙂

    And speaking of reviews, don’t you just love the ones that start out with “I don’t usually read this genre but…” and then they give a bad review. WTF? How are you going to give a review on a book in a genre you don’t even like? I don’t get it. If you don’t like the genre, what makes you think you’re going to like this book. It’s just rude.

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    1. Woo-hoo! Dana’s on a rant! 😀

      Actually, I do learn something every time I read, maybe not a life-changing truth, but I take away something of value.

      I don’t get those reviews either. I wonder if it’s a result of the availability of so many free books. Some people can’t resist FREE and overload their readers with hundreds of books they would never have paid for. Obviously, some of them don’t even bother to read the description before they grab it, and then they almost seem angry that a book of a genre they don’t like ended up on their reader! Use a little sense, people.

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