In his acceptance speech for the 2007 Moth award in New York City, author and storyteller Garrison Keillor tells how his life in storytelling began after the drowning of his older cousin. Keillor was supposed to be taking swimming lessons that summer after the drowning but, in his first act of defiance, he rode past the smells of chlorine wafting from the YMCA and continued on to the library where he immersed himself in books and storytelling.
Keillor says the purpose of storytelling is to become intimate with strangers–something he has made his life from in hosting the radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” for nearly forty years.
What is the need that drives us to become storytellers? Every writer and storyteller has an event or series of events that brought them to storytelling.
My foray into storytelling was triggered by my mother’s descent into dementia in her mid-sixties. I wanted to tell the story of her difficult life that ended with her eventually forgetting all of her life’s experiences, almost as if the forgetting was a blessing for her.
Watch the 8-minute video below of Keillor and ask yourself what motivates you to be a storyteller: