I never knew how much I enjoyed telling stories out loud until a few years after my first column was published here in the Weirs Times.
All of those early columns were stories that had to do with my adjustments to life here in Central New Hampshire after having moved here from Long Island, New York in 1985.
There was always an underlying theme to these tales of adjustment. It was the fact that a handy person I am not. What were experiences of frustration for me, years later turned into amusing tales.
Of course, there was sometimes some slight embellishment to make the stories a bit more entertaining, but often there was no embellishment at all; I took some of my more embarrassing moments, moments that I’m sure others would be afraid to admit, and turned them into stories for others to (hopefully) enjoy and maybe have a good laugh at my expense.
I never regretted for a moment using my own shortcomings to give others a good chuckle. In all honesty, it has been cathartic for me. Now when faced with a task I’d rather not attempt, I do anyway since, succeed or fail, it always makes for a great story.
A few years after the first stories of my misadventures in raking the roof in winter, buying firewood for the first time and spending a morning at the dump appeared, I was asked by a local group to come and tell my stories in person. This was about seventeen years ago now.
That first presentation wasn’t very good (a story in itself), Still, I was intrigued enough to want to do it again. It has been said that next to dying, public speaking is the second biggest fear for most people. For me it is having to fix a leaky faucet. I admit I was a bit nervous that first time speaking in front of a crowd, but as the years went by and I was invited by more groups and organizations in telling my tales, I became more comfortable with it and looked forward to the next presentation.
It encouraged me to publish a couple of books with some of these stories as well and people actually bought them.
One thing that always intrigued me when giving a presentation was after it was over, many people would come up to tell me their own misadventures in adjusting to life here. Many of these stories were true, yet very funny. Unfortunately, no one else might ever hear them.
I always felt that there should be an outlet for some of these stories to be told. And not just stories about being a Flatlander adjusting to life here in New Hampshire, but just the stories about life in general. We all have so many great stories to tell but most of us don’t realize it.
I would bet that every week we all have at least one amazing story -maybe funny, maybe sad – about something that happened in our lives.
For several years now, across the country, and even in the southern part of New Hampshire, there have been these great events called “Story Slams” where regular people stand up in front of a crowd and tell a story about a true event in their lives based on a particular theme for the night.
There are judges and music and some prizes are awarded, but mostly it is just a lot of fun and It is an amazing experience for both the storyteller and the audience.
I have started what I call “Real Stories North Of Concord” to organize some of these events here in the Lakes Region and north. There are a lot of entertaining stories out there that need to be told. I know this because I have heard them myself.
The first event is going to take place at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia on July 13th. It will be a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Humane Society. The theme for that night will be “It Seemed Like A Good Idea.”
Then on September 9th there will be another event at the Franklin Opera House and I’m hoping to add more going forward.
There will be more information about these coming soon on these pages as well as from these venues themselves. You can also go to “Real Stories North Of Concord” on Facebook. You can also follow @RealStoriesNOC on Twitter.
So, a story about getting other people to tell their stories is my story for this week.
I’m hoping to hear yours someday.