Clutch Vol. 5: I Have a Story to Tell


As an English teacher and educator of all sorts, I have often pondered the power of stories--their affects on memory, learning, the quality of a conversation, and so on. I remember a week before our storytelling work shop, I was telling my fellow clutch sister that one of my goals in life is to become a good storyteller. It is something that I always strive to be as whenever I am in the presence of someone who captivates an audience, including myself, I am enthralled, excited, and a little envious. This week's Clutch workshop has once again provoked my thoughts and actions.

We were showered with Romeo Candido's wisdom for the first of our two-part workshop last Saturday. I was thoroughly inspired by his work and experience in the media industry and was happily honoured to have been shared with the main ingredient to his success: the skill of storytelling.

If the ingredient of success is storytelling, what are the ingredients of a story? Through our brainstorming activity, we were able to outline some fundamentals of a story: a setting, characters, a point of view, a conundrum, and a result. The most striking element to me was the transformation. I think the most crucial part of a story is the transformation that unfolds within the characters and as a result the transformation that occurs within the reader, viewer or the listener. The audience is every bit a part of the story.

Why do we tell stories? To teach? To shock? To entertain? To connect? And if it were our last day on Earth tomorrow, and we had to tell one story, which one would we tell, and to whom? In this thought experiment, I had to quickly scroll through my life archive but settled on a story about my surviving a canoe trip. I had decided that I would tell it to my grandmother. It would be a story of a holistic journey told to the person who raised me--a celebration of my strength and endurance as well as a celebration of my grandmother. It says, “Look, you did a great job!” I want to tell my stories in a way that will reveal a part of ourselves that has been neglected, a vague light shined on a dark part of our identity, to be pondered in greater detail later.

I have a story to tell: two years ago, after meeting my partner, we came across an open house art gallery at Walnut Studios. We had decided to play a game in which we were to walk around the gallery to try to find a piece of art work that to us represented love. It had to be quick and spontaneous. We just had to feel it. I saw a painting of two brains intertwined and thought it was appropriate, while my partner looked around, spotted a sculpture of a mushroom cloud, pointed at it and said,"That." That year for his birthday, I painted him a small mushroom cloud on a square of canvas. After another year of being on mushroom cloud nine, I found KAPISANAN and was introduced to many young artists. I become drawn to one of them and we became friends. One day, during a presentation of his works, a sculpture of a mushroom cloud appeared.