may i tell you a story?

the storyteller, public domain

the storyteller by William Collins, public domain

I don’t know if I’m cut out for this writing gig. Writing is a solitary activity, and I may be an introvert, but I don’t like to be alone. I want to do things together. You can’t write “together.”  Also, I have the attention span of a gnat.  My mind doesn’t wander, it hitchhikes all over the world when it should be staying put and focusing like a laser.  

The only thing I have in common with real writers is I love to drink a big cup of tea while I’m writing. That’s a writing thing, right?  I guess if I were Hemingway, it would be bourbon. 

And yet, here it is, 9:30 AM on the Saturday before Christmas. I’m on my third cup of tea. I haven’t done any shopping, there’s a mountain of laundry lurking in the laundry room, I need to take the dog for a walk, and a thousand other obligations are nipping at my conscience. But all I can do is sit here and write.  What is this strange obsession to share the inner workings of my mind? 

Like all good Southerners, my parents were storytellers, so  from a young age, I was steeped in the art of telling a story. Storytelling is an art, and the best storytellers are fine artists. 

My parents were also funny, and I learned very young how gratifying it is to make people laugh. As Jon Acuff wrote just today, “Delight people.” I love to delight people.  All day long, we are assaulted by conflict and outrage, and I just want to tell everyone, “Here, come sit next to me and let me tell you a story that will make you laugh, or at least chuckle a little. Calm down for a few moments and let your heart relax.” We can drink tea, too.

I make a lot of mistakes, and I repeat a lot of the same mistakes.  After I accidentally shaved Joe’s head, I told him, “I wish I could say this was the first time I did this to somebody, but it’s not.” Life is just not long enough for me to make every single mistake I could make, let alone repeat them.  I figure I may as well make my mistakes count for something, and as Bob Goff says, “Mistakes make the best stories.”

So here I sit, trying to spin a little tale.  I don’t even like the actual “writing” part that much.  I would rather just sit here and tell you a story while we share a pot of tea, but you’re not here. I’m like a birdwatcher without a notebook or binoculars, who just wants to look at birds. I just want to tell stories. So I write.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Ernest Hemingway

If you’re a writer, what motivates you to write?  Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

PS: For my writer friends whose blogs I comment on, I am in Spam prison, can you take a moment to check your comment queue for any comments I have made on your blog and release me?  Thank you!

About the Author

Kathleen Caron

I'm good at finding stuff, and I love to share all my discoveries. I write about faith, family and food, and the occasional rant.

  • Joan

    My reasons for writing are similar~I love a good story. Music and photography inspire me to write. And sometimes I’ll be in a public place, observe a situation, then come home and write.

    Hope your out of “spam prison” soon. I added you to my safe list. :)

    • Kathleen Caron

      Thank you Joan, let’s see if my own site spams my comments lol! I know you are a good story teller, and a keen observer. I always remember that you said people walk past a thousand stories every day, but the writer notices, something like that.

  • Karen Childress

    Spam Prison? Not sure what that is, but I checked my comments marked as spam and you are not there. As far as inspiration for writing, hmmm, not sure. Life situations, I guess. But, like you, sometimes sitting down to write doesn’t mean I actually do it- my thoughts won’t gel. Go enjoy your family and friends for the next week or so; be released from thinking you have to write right now.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Thank you for that good thought, I have been enjoying a wonderful day with my family. Now they’re watching one of our traditional Christmas movies, “The Crossing,” about Washington crossing the Delaware. It’s a great movie that perfectly evokes the peril and tenuousness of the Revolutionary War. I wish your family a beautiful, blessed Christmas!

  • katina Vaselopulos

    Very good reason to write, Kathleen! Your stories are always beautiful!
    I write to understand me and my feelings, to heal, to learn, to share with others somthing that made an impression on me!
    Thank God, I am not cooking for Christmas, but even so, not accomplishing much lately. Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

    • Kathleen Caron

      Thank you Katina, I write for those reasons as well. I am not planning to cook much for Christmas either, even though I love to cook. I hope you spend many joyous hours with family and friends, and may the beauty of the Christ child fill your home.

  • Susan Rinehart Stilwell

    Hi Kathleen! I’m finally catching up on some reading and laughed out loud — I accidentally shaved Scott’s head too! 4th grade, the night before school pics. He doesn’t remember it but I DO.

    And I’m right there with you on the writing gig. I like drinking tea or coffee, staring out the window and letting my mind wander. I’d way rather chat one on one and hear stories :) I hope some of your prolific writer friends will share some inspirational tips!

    Christmas hugs to you and yours!

    • Kathleen Caron

      Oh, that makes me feel better, I felt like the biggest doofus in the world for doing that to Joe. Fortunately it was during football playoffs and so many players were doing weird things to their hair that no one really noticed. I hope some of my prolific friends will share tips too, but I thought you were one of them! Susan, have a beautiful restful Christmas, and my prayers go out to your mother and and mother in law. blessings, Kathleen (we have missed you alot…)

  • kathunsworth

    Oh Kathleen you ARE a fine story teller indeed and I am delighted every time I stop by and I am sure you delight many people with your stories my friend.

    I find the excuses NOT to write is the key for me. If I just sit down and begin, something happens. Motivation is overrated some days. I just need to strap myself down and just do it! That is when the magic comes.

    • Kathleen Caron

      And I suppose for you, every time you do sit down you wonder “Should I write, or draw or paint?” I don’t have that dilemma. Thank you for appreciating my stories.
      You’re so right, motivation is overrated. You can’t wait until genius strikes, although sometimes it does. Butt to chair, as Stephen King says!

  • Anne Peterson

    You can tell me a story anytime, my friend. I do have to tell you when getting things shaved in your buzz haircuts I remember Nathan joined in. He went and had a hairdresser shave in the word, “Nike,” except the N got messed up and it looked like “Mike.” You can bet Nathan was upset. Especially since Mike is his dad’s name. I still laugh when I think about it. Thanks for the trigger. Oh is that bad that we are laughing at Joe’s haircut. No, I don’t think so.

    We need your stories because you tuck laughter in there so carefully that it springs out at just the right time.

    This is an “off,” Christmas of sorts. It’s that way for a lot of people though. What I am determined to do this year is to listen for the cattle lowing and the hush of angels as they watch the miraculous birth. Everyone loves newborns.

    I’m giving myself permission to be where I am this year. No guilt. Even though things may not feel “Merry,” they can still be joyous.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Oh dear, at least you didn’t cut “Mike” into his hair. But on the other hand, presumably he paid for that (unless he got his money back); Joe’s haircut at least was free.
      And thank you for appreciating my stories. I try.
      It is an “off” Christmas, sometimes it feels like the world is winding down. With my mom still living in assisted care and her health in peril; with my older children getting ready to fly out the door when they graduate college; with so much mayhem in the news and chaos in the culture; we need Jesus now more than ever, if that’s possible. Because we have always needed him so much.
      I won’t wish you a Merry Christmas, then but a Joyous Christmas. Enjoy your little ones, your friends (virtual and real life.) Let it bless you to know that you bless so many people with your generosity and kindness and support. Bless you, my friend.

  • Anne Peterson

    Thank you Kathleen. I must say that I am feeling more like myself than I have since this roller coaster ride with medication started. It was a hard ride. I pray this Christmas is one that causes you to ponder just as Mary did snuggling the baby “King of Kings.”

  • oddznns

    All we do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed…. Hmmm, seems like we all are writing because we’re masochists!

    It doesn’t pay well at all. It’s scary. It hurts. Readers can be scarce some days. Other days, it’s the words that don’t appear. It’s a sorrow and a trial. But, then, like Xmas … There are those days when the stars shine through, although it’s never as often as the blah and the so-so days. I don’t know Kathleen. Like you say, it’ must simply be because we must. Something HE put into our souls before we were even a gleam in our parents’ eyes.

    • Kathleen Caron

      I guess so Audrey, I tried every type of creativity there is–painting, drawing, sewing, crafts, calligraphy–and none of it “took.” The only thing I like to do is write. And talk, I love talking. I suppose it is how God created me.

  • oddznns

    Did I forget to say, your writing is incredibly funny ;) They bring a smile to my mornings. They do. Please keep it up … no matter how painful.

    • Kathleen Caron

      Thank you dear friend. That makes me very happy, and encouraged.