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Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Time Confusion

By Mary B Summerlin who keeps a photostream at Flickr

Several days ago, a friend and former teaching colleague called and asked me to do a storytelling gig at one of the local schools. She knew I had cut way back on doing this kind of work because my voice is no longer dependable nor is my energy.

So first she asked if I was interested. Well, I guess I was on a high – I answered that I was working on three separate storytelling gigs at the moment so yes, I’d be interested.

We discussed the details: one hour program for three-to-nine year olds, the price, the date. I suggested that the age group be split into two groups, one-half hour each. We concluded the deal.

When I said yes, I forgot the storytelling that I do now is for adults and is short term, half an hour at most. That’s a whole lot different from doing stories for an hour for little ones. What had I been thinking?

Over the next several days, I began to come to my senses. I can’t do that job. My voice won’t last an hour and little ones require a lot of energy. That is what I used to do and in a period of total lack of reality I had said, “Oh yes, I’ll do it.”

Truth of the matter is that I can’t. I used to do that. The only excuse I can offer is that I love telling stories and especially to the little ones. So in a forgetful moment, I said yes.

I called my friend and said that I must have been crazy when we last talked because I can’t possibly do that gig and explained the reasons. She understood and I gave her the names and phone numbers of several other tellers in the area.

I discovered storytelling the last years of teaching. I fell in love with it at first exposure. I came home from the Connecticut Storytelling Festival in April 1989 and told all my family and friends that now I knew what I was going to do with the rest of my life. They nodded their heads like, “Yeah.”

That festival was 23 years ago and my enthusiasm is just as strong now as it was then and I have been involved in the storytelling world ever since. Maybe it’s not so strange that I just automatically said, “Yes, I’ll do it.”

I have been contemplating that exchange ever since it happened a few days ago. Isn’t it strange that for a period of time I can completely forget who I am now and think I am who I was sometime ago? It makes me feel kinda crazy.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Oh, Mary, I don't think you are crazy at all.

I understand how you feel about sometimes confusing what you would LIKE to do with what you can REALLY do but there is nothing strange about that. It's just wishful thinking and we ALL do that.

Just keep writing about your adventures and memories and taking beautiful pictures. Both are very rewarding activities.

A clear, honest evocation of what it feels like to lose your
youth and the abilities you've always had. I know it all too well. BUT there's a second chapter here you must write and share: how you have built new passions into your life--teaching and writing life stories and taking beautiful pictures!

Not strange at all, Mary. Maybe you need to make a DVD of you telling stories for children. That way, you can introduce the stories and leave with the DVD starts.

I just clicked onto your blog and found you are an absolutely wonderful photographer. So your voice is failing some, as our all do, you have a great other career to follow. And writing doesn't take a voice so just keep at it and let us all enjoy your different and varied abilities.

Thank you Nancy, Lyn, Marcia and Johna for pointing out that it is really a rite of passage and I do have other talents and abilities that I can use in a creative and productive manner.Your loving reassurance made me smile all day. Thank you.

All that being said, isn't it great to be "old" enough to be able to know when it is time to say, "sorry, no" without all the baggage that used to come with it..regards..

Yes Mary. There is a feeling of freedom when I just say "no". I'm practicing so I can do it easily. Thanks for pointing that out.

You mean I've been telling stories all these years and I could have been getting paid?! I have a date on the calendar now. I wonder how I should charge.

I'm glad I can come here and enjoy your stories free of charge. I get paid for my photography. Perhaps you could too. Beautiful pictures.

Hi Mary. We are both rowing the same boat. My greatgrandaughter Kira and I were talking about ageing the other day. I said that there were "perks" and she asked what they were. I said "well, you are one". One of my greatgrandchildren said "come on Grammy, let's pretend we are running". So it's a mixed bag but, as everyone who knows you at all knows, you have lots to give...not the least of which is just being your lovely self.

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