Excuse me while I continue my recent descent into laziness and refer y’all to Alison’s discussion on storytelling and writing. (I don’t even know what trackbacks and pingbacks are, never mind whether I should be using them here. I do, though, know what a cornerback is.)
Iâ€™m still confused about the difference between â€œwriterâ€ and â€œstoryteller.â€ It never occurred to me there was a difference between the two terms until this discussion came up. Could someone please explain the difference to a sleep-deprived mommy in extremely simple terms, please??
I never really considered the difference until this conversation, either, so therefore had a little trouble grasping other responses. Just as with the wordsmithing conversation, I think it’s a matter of what one word implies to one individual (and once again it seems to mean something different to me *g*).
To me, storytelling and writing are two sides of one coin, but I’m having a hard time putting my finger on why or how. My initial response to the word “storytelling” (paging Dr. Freud…) is to think of oral traditions of storytelling. I picture Great-grandpa sitting in front of the fire, unable to read or write a single word but his name, yet able to spin a yarn of his childhood that enraptures his young audience. “Writing” is spinning that yarn on paper, a process of storytelling, followed by editing and revising and crafting that yarn until the story is the best it can be.
My husband is a storyteller. We sit on the front porch with the neighbors in the summer, and the man can tell a tale. Whether of good times or bad, those stories totally engage his audience. But give the man a sheet of paper, and he’d be totally lost. A writer he’s not.
I’m a writer. Put me in a group of people and I’ll get a laugh or two, but my storytelling attempts usually end with interruptions or people having to pee. I need the editing. I need the revision. Perhaps that free-roaming, just-get-it-down first draft is storytelling. I don’t know. But I need the process to spin a yarn. The process of writing.