Telling a story is speaking out anew
what you always knew you knew
but didn’t know you knew it
until you heard yourself saying it
and in the telling of it, you,
the teller, become the listener too.
The teller and the listener
together both discover
the process of finding out
what the story is all about
as one draws the story out of the other
and the story tells itself from cover to cover.
© Ken Chawkin
I wrote this about 25 years ago, after making up a bedtime story to help get my children to sleep. It came out well; we were enthralled. I called it Songbird. After reflecting on how it happened, I spontaneously spoke out these two sentences about the whole storytelling process, and wrote it down as a poem. It’s sort of a companion piece to Writing—a poem on the writing process. I told the story again the next night and recorded it. About a year or so later I had the small cassette transferred to an audiotape and sent it to them. My son actually transcribed it and sent it back to me, which was a pleasant surprise. I’m keeping it for posterity. You never know when it’ll come in handy again. 🙂