Monday, January 31, 2011

In Memory...My Mother, the Storyteller*

...In your lap I first discovered the power of Story through words. From you I learned the way the strange marks on the paper could transform into dramas-- leaping into life faster with each turn of the page.

...At our dining room table I discovered the power of Story through images. From you I learned to hear with my eyes as well as my ears, watching as you flipped through picture books that only you knew the stories behind—stories I could embellish from my imagination if I looked closely enough.

...On our living room floor I discovered the power of Story through suspense, as the six of us small ones (and later increasingly bigger ones!) huddled around you waiting for the next installment of the Christmas serial from our local newspaper. From you I learned the way a dramatic pause or key turn of a phrase could keep us waiting for the next chapter, the next scene, the next sentence—as if our very worlds depended on what came next.

...And watching you bring stories to life with your puppets is where I discovered the power of Story through characterization. I learned—as adults in the audience watched most intently of all—about the child in each of us who never grows past how characters acting out stories can sneak past our defenses to open eyes, ears, hearts.
Through you I discovered
  • The Cat in the Hat and Where the Wild Things Are

  • Nancy Drew and Hercule Poirot 

  • Garrison Keillor and Paul Harvey

  • Narnia and Middle Earth

  • Shakespeare and Scripture

From you I learned about the little sailboat that was first made, and then lost—and then paid for by its own creator to buy it back out of love.

From you I learned about the treasures buried in snow holding the secret to forgiveness of serious wrongs done.

From you I learned about the giving tree that no matter how many times it was cut down kept finding something more to give.

Your own story and storytelling time with us here is now over.

But ours continues...

What will we tell the world about what those stories taught us?

How will we make meaning from what we found in them?

And where will our own paths take us in redeeming the pain with
the Stories we live
and the Stories we tell?

*For my readers unaware of the situation, my mother choked on a piece of meat while eating supper and died at the relatively young age of 66.  In this anticipated Dream Era when Storytellers are projected to become the New Leaders, whatever role I play in that will have been shaped first and foremost by my mother and her love and gifts in the area of Story. Thank you, Mom.


  1. I can only pray to pay your mother's influence tribute with the stories (true and fictitious) I'll tell as my life and career unfold. In memory

  2. Thanks so much, Steven! With your amazing gifts in so many areas I feel like you already are paying this kind of tribute in what you're creating and living your way into...and will continue to do so.