The damnedest thing about storytelling is this:

You know the situation when you walk into a party, but the whole room is deserted because everyone is down in the basement listening to a performance by a woman you’ll later find out is dressed like a window washer, but who’s actually a world champion whistler, yet the person you came to the party with isn’t in a hurry to get down there because he’s not only heard the whistler before, he’s come home to his own impromptu house party to find that same lady walking on a basketball while simultaneously playing his tuba (the nerve), so it’s a bit of #beentheredonethat for him, therefore y’all linger just a minute on the main floor with all the food you automatically know is vegan because the air itself is sweating cabbage, and while you have zero qualms with veganism, you do have a problem with being one of only two people hanging out in any room of a stranger’s home, so you pour yourself a glass of boxed wine and head on down to the concert.

 

And it’s exactly what you expect - wall to wall vegetarians sitting on overturned egg crates watching the tail end of the whistle show in a lopsided cemented room that’s partitioned with your grandmother’s hyper green and floral rugs hanging from low beams to hide all the paint cans and garbage bags filled with clothes that should’ve gone to Goodwill five years ago and that’s decorated with haphazardly strung twinkle lights like a perfect Armageddon Christmas.

 

You know the kind of party, right? The kind that has a babbling brook running down the middle of it that everyone has to step over and remember not to put their purse down in because it’s the Pacific Northwest and old basements leak and, btw, half the audience is on mushrooms which you won’t know and will only later find out when your friend points out the obvious.

 

I know you know what I’m talking about. You were in theater once or had theater friends or have an old friend who still has theater friends and he dragged you to that party, the kind theater people are always having.

 

Well at any rate...you’re there now.

 

So the next performer ends his act by projecting a cartoon he created about the ghost that haunts the locker room at his gym onto a bed sheet and the FINAL act is a young woman whose hair is dyed white with maybe shoe polish and whose face is smeared white with hopefully what is definitely not shoe polish (but at this point, who can be sure) and from the bottom of her eyes pour painted streams in every color of the rainbow #rainbowtears.

 

She and her accompanying partner are wearing potato sacks.

 

She plays the xylophone. He’s on vocals. We make it through 1.5 songs of xylophone dings and microphone whispers before my friend rises from his egg crate and I get up from the broken, impotent end of the couch I’m sliding off of anyway to leave.

 

So.

Now that we’re finally out of that house, there’s lots I want to tell you. For starters, I was interviewed this past Tuesday as part of a Marketing Summit, along with a panel of strategists, coaches, event planners, photographers, basically all kinds of smarties discussing their thing.

I was pulled on as the bio expert which naturally morphed into a discussion on “storytelling” because I use it in my bios (and elsewhere, see above), but when they asked me WHY it was so important, I gave a good answer, but you know what I forgot to mention?!!!

 
Storytelling gives you the chance to use details.

 
And details give you coordinates. It puts a pin in a moment, a place, an event. The reader can locate you, almost be with you to think, yeah, I get that. Or ha, that’s funny or that’s freaky or that’s absurd.

 

Details say of you, the writer, “I pay attention to life.” I get things, I see things. Which unconsciously says to the reader, your client…

 

I get and I see you too.

Caroline Mays