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January 28, 2018: Untold Stories

Seven readers getting seven minutes each, to tell a story. Okay. My question remains – if you get together and rehearse and tell your story, isn’t that then a told story? Six of the readers made it to rehearsal and told their stories beforehand, so they were presenting told stories.

My story was an Untold Story, sort of. I’d written about meeting Pete though I don’t think anyone besides Pete had read the story. So it was a semi-untold told story. I did practice it this morning, played it into the tape recorder and played it back.

The story tellers that went before me were excellent. One talked about being unable to start a fire in a cold cabin then the next day falling through the ice. The second person talked about being on the Ruth Glacier with six other individuals and the hardships they endured. I came next. I had Pete assist me in putting his bicycle (it was supposed to be my bicycle but I didn’t have any racks) on the raised stage. This way, I could introduce him.

The theme was survival, which was perfect for a cold, windy winter evening. I realized after hearing the first two speakers that I was out of my league. I simply didn’t have a story with enough hardship in it. It’s excruciating knowing that you are following two above average speakers with good stories and that you are an average speaker with a not-so-good story. Oh oh. I went up on that stage knowing I was screwed. But the audience members, many of whom I knew, they were polite and laughed and clapped at the right times. I appreciated that.

Pat C, who is the President of the Board of the Palmer Museum, and who organized the rehearsals, made it a point of saying that they were a “bonding” experience for the participants. So I didn’t get to bond with anyone. I freely concede that this was my loss. If I had bonded and shared my story with them beforehand, it would have been a told untold story.

So the question is, would I have done better if I’d found a way to get to the rehearsals? The answer, as it always is in such instances, was yes and no. Yes, I most definitely would have had a better sense of timing, and in addition I would have known what details to leave in and which ones to take out. And perhaps I would have been told that it wasn’t enough of a survivor story. And it wasn’t. No one was close to being in any kind of danger.

And no, I just had this feeling all along that had I rehearsed this particular story too many times that I would have killed it. Maybe this was because I had to go back and forth in time, in unexpected places, and this may have made the story. Once you know a story really well, there is no need for improvisation.

So, I made myself really small after my talk so that no one would notice me – and no one did. That’s the beauty of being 5”2.

The theme of the next Untold Story will be road trips. I will submit although I suspect that the Palmer Inner Circle will be taking those who have never before told an Untold Story – and I have to admit that is the fair thing to do.

Next: 29. 1/29/18: The horse Life: Toolie Bashing Tyra

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