The Prompt: Spinning Yarns—What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?
The very best storytellers are those who are not aware of a distinct line between fact and fiction. My father was a storyteller of the first order, which might tell you something about the dependability of his details. From telling to retelling, distances multiplied and facts grew in magnitude. This is why as he grew older, his tales grew more and more spectacular.
When Colima volcano blew a few days ago, I was 50 or so miles away, but if my father had been alive and had been telling the tale, he would have had me standing at the rim, dodging boulders, with lava lapping at my heels as I fled down the mountain. Barefoot.
Yes, I inherited my father’s storytelling propensities, but as in everything, inheritance is a matter of degrees. The fact that my father did not squander the fruits of his life’s long efforts and so passed some of them on to me has contributed greatly to my comfortable retirement. What he seems to have used up is the family quota of exaggeration. So it is that I try to refrain from hyperbole as much as my genes will allow me to. Still, with many of my stories, I worry about whether people will believe me. That is where cameras come in handy. Oh that I’d had one those nights when I saw the flying saucers!!!!