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I LOVE Oral...History

One of the things I love most in life is getting to meet new people and sharing life stories. I love to hear what other people have been through, what their lives are like, and what sort of things matter most to them. I’m fascinated by what makes them happy and what things they struggle with. I love to find out what makes them unique and how they fit in to this amazing and strange world we inhabit.

I think that’s half of the appeal for me when it comes to travelling and writing about it. I want to meet people from all over and from all walks of life. I want to hear their stories and document them, so they can be shared. For those that haven’t heard my stance on tattoos, I think of them as being the stories of our lives that we wear on our skin. Whether I’m writing words on a page (or computer screen) or I’m writing them or drawing a picture to represent them on skin, I’m kind of obsessed with stories.

Not just true stories either, I enjoy a good fiction as much as anything else. I don’t really see too much of a difference. No, the legends that have endured might not have actually happened ever in history but on the other hand, they’ve been heard and retold and, in many ways, lived on and are real because of the people that carry and pass them on. The part I enjoy most though, is the telling of the story itself.

Growing up I used to love listening to books on tape, especially when I was going to bed. It’s something I never really outgrew and still do to this day. It’s a rare occasion when I go to bed without putting something on to listen to as I drift off to sleep. I usually go with a book I’ve heard already because otherwise, if the author is skilled in his trade, it holds my attention and I end up laying there listening to it all night and don’t get any sleep.

The digital age has made this so much easier. Between podcasts and subscription services like audible or even the public library’s digital collection, there are endless options to choose from. I certainly appreciate and make use of all those options, but I also really enjoy a good story directly from the mouth of the teller. I used to love hearing campfire stories when I was off camping and love the history behind the pastime.

In times before most people could read and write, that’s how our history was passed down from one generation to the next. That was how people shared their beliefs about the spirit world and taught the next generation all that they needed to know to live in and take care of the world around them. That oral tradition is one I think needs to be held on to. It, in and of itself, is a HUGE part of our history and it gives you a much better feel for what life was actually like.

One of my all-time favorite story tellers is Garrison Keillor. I grew up listening to his stories of Lake Wobegon with my grandfather and I loved hearing about life in the small town of his tales. To this day, listening to him tell a story takes me right back to my childhood and never fails to entertain. There’s just something about hearing a story told by the same voice whose mind created it.

There are a lot of authors that I really enjoy reading, or listening to as the case may be. This is one of the things I find so awesome about podcasts, in general, they are recorded by the person that wrote them. Scott Sigler is one of my favorites as well and, in my mind, is a pioneer in the world of podcasting a good story.

The types of books he writes might not, on their face, always seem like the sort I’d be really interested in, but I’ve fallen in love with the way he tells a story. He manages to take something that, in anyone else’s hands, could be boring or just ridiculous as far as a concept for a story but he has a way of making it hard to stop listening to. I’ve spent many a long sleepless night staring at the ceiling or the back of my eyelids while envisioning the scenes he paints with his descriptions.

Some of the very best stories though are the ones that really happened, the non-fiction sort. I’ve found that in any good story, there is something you can learn, but there’s something extra special about those based on real life. When you hear them, you can hear the emotion that the teller felt, you can imagine yourself in their shoes and know that they experienced it and lived to tell the tale. It’s like meeting the hero of the story and having them tell you it themselves. Actually, it’s not LIKE that, it IS that!

I can’t say why exactly I find this aspect of human existence to be so fascinating but I just sort of accept that I do. It’s something that’s pretty much always been a part of who I am. I used to feel a bit self-conscious about it though, like I was a total weirdo with my head in the clouds all the time, trying to live vicariously through the experiences and imaginations of other people. Over the years I’ve come to KNOW that I’m a total weirdo and love that fact about myself.

I’ve also realized that living vicariously through others isn’t what it’s about at all. I’m still living my life and experiencing what I want to see and do while I’m here. Part of what I want to do though, is to learn and experience as many things as I can in that limited time span. There’s only so many things I can physically do in one lifetime but by hearing about what other people have done and lived through, it’s like sampling an overview of what thousands of others have done and dreamed.

The more I see and hear, the more I know about the world around me. The more I write, the more I discover about myself and what makes me tick. Combining the two gives me a better idea of what my place in this world is and what contributions I might be able to make to leave it a better place then when I entered it.

I appreciate the time you’ve given me allowing me to share a bit of my story and I’m going to ask you if you’d be willing to share a bit more of it with me. If you’d be so kind, leave a comment or send me a message and let me know what your favorite story is, or a bit about who you are and what brought you to be reading this. It can be anything at all, big or small, long or short, just something you feel like sharing so that I can add part of your story to my own that I’ll carry with me for the remainder of my journey here on earth! Thank you and I wish you many more happy stories to add to yours!