My mother’s father was a storyteller. That is to say, every sunday, when I was a kid, we went there for dinner and he presided over the table and told yarns. That was the way I liked to think about them, anyway.
Sunday dinner was not the only time my grandfather would spin a tale. It was just the time he most relished. My father had other words for the weekly ritual. Negative words. And yet, he too was a storyteller when he got to a certain age. The irony of that was not lost on me. But the other day it finally dawned on me that I too am a storyteller. As I mentioned in another post, i’ve been writing since I was thirteen.
I can remember sitting in my grandfather’s office at the movie theater (he managed several) amidst the stale cigar smoke, the massive safe and the girlie pictures on the wall listening to him tell me a story. He was also a poet, and a very good one at that. I remember the first time he showed me a book of his poems. I was enthralled. It was there and then that I knew I wanted to write. I wasted no time. So it was indeed he who inspired me to write. He had several colorful careers, as have I, including being in one the very first biker gangs, and as a professional boxer. Kid Hill, he was known as.
As I said, I must have been 12 or 13 when I started writing. I began with poetry. I was ernest. I was determined. I was bad at it. At first. It’s not easy trying to write something deep and meaningful when you’re 13, but at that age it’s the effort that matters. I moved on to short stories. I was mad about science fiction by then, so that’s what I wrote. I remember struggling to find a name for my spaceship in one story. I decided on Oblivion. I thought that was just so profound.
So i’ve always thought of myself as one who writes, but somehow not a storyteller, though that is surely what I am. If anything defines me, it is that. I’ve come to the realization that I am a 21st century version of my grandfather. This is what he would be doing if he were here in this time. He would have a blog. I’m certain of it. In a way i’m just carrying on a family tradition. Not a bad one from where I sit.
I’m planning on taking a further step with it soon. I want to combine my love of photography, writing and travel and take the obvious step. Photojournalism. As the venerable Tom Robbins said (you really must read his books if you haven’t already), you’re never too old to have a happy childhood. Me, i’m gonna stay young at heart and find my way.
By the way, that’s not a picture of my grandfather and I above, sadly I have no pictures of him.