Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland has become part of another process: Walk, Write, Talk. I walked across Scotland. I wrote a book about the journey, both the external and the internal portions. Now, I get to talk about it all, or at least a lot of it.
At a guess, for every thousand words in a book, the author considered five thousand. Every sentence can be turned into a paragraph. Every paragraph can become a chapter. I know someone who published a book for private consumption. Family memoirs are like that. I helped, so I got a copy too. Every three pages could be pulled out and turned into a novel or a screenplay. Such is the nature of writing. Deciding what to set aside can be harder than knowing what to include. Writing about a life can take as long as the life. One of my favorite authors used a similar device as part of the world for his fantasy novels. Terry Practhett’s Discworld series includes what I call Death’s Library. Each book in the library writes itself as a person lives. One book per person. Words appear on the page every moment the person is alive. Keeping up requires magic and is a fantasy.
Each of my books is only a selection of slices from a larger slice of life.
Next month, February, the talks begin and are my eagerly anticipated opportunity to begin telling more of the stories.
February 4th I will be interviewed on KWPA’s Isle Of Arts program. Two of us sitting in a room with an On Air sign and an excellent view of Penn Cove will talk about those other stories. The broadcast radius is central Whidbey. The streaming radius is the planet. There will probably even be a podcast available if we’re talking when you can’t listen.
February 9th’s event only extends as far as the sound of my voice, but there are a lot more people in the room. I’ll give a talk and a slideshow (slides don’t work well on the radio) at the Langley Library (Hosted by the Friends of Langley Library). The last time I talked in Langley, over at Wander On Whidbey, it was to a packed house. That was long before the book was ready. As a writer, I appreciated the opportunity. Telling the stories to dozens of people is a fine way to see what resonates.
Humans tell stories. They are probably the basis of our culture, aside from the first communications which probably went something like, “Aargh!” as some predator visited camp. I try to be more eloquent than “Aargh!”. People have always gathered to hear stories. That means someone has always been there to tell stories too. As a storyteller, I’ve learned that telling the story changes the story. Events that I remember as a dramas become closer to comedies every time I tell them. Sweeter moments become sweeter. Even if the words don’t change, the pacing, shifts in emphasis, whether there is a photo or a prop to point to, the story changes as I learn more about it through the reactions of others. We are social creatures and we learn from each other, even if what we are talking about is ourself.
I continue to be surprised at the reactions I witness and experience when I tell stories from my bicycle ride across America, Just Keep Pedaling. I never thought the incident with the chihuahua would be that interesting.
Part of this post is an announcement, because I certainly hope you listen in or drop by. Part of this is an invitation, because I welcome adding events to my calendar and meeting new people. (Does anyone want to kick in enough for me to do a talk in Fenwick?) This is also an encouragement to other writers and authors to get out there and tell their stories. Great effort and craft go into much of what we write, and people invariably want to hear more. So, maybe you didn’t do a walk; but, I’m sure someone wants to hear you do the talk. – And if you want an example of how to do that, well, you’re welcome to listen in and drop by.
Stay tuned. We’ll be talking.