I used to perform commercials in the mirror as a kid. Usually during my bedtime routine and usually to the annoyance of one of my parents. Perhaps as an act to avoid bedtime? Who? Me? Who knows.
“Brushing your teeth can help make them sparkly. Plus, your dentist will be happy with you.”
“Did you know singing your ABCs while washing your hands makes sure they are clean?”
“You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zest-fully clean.”*insert elder Millennial advertisement reference here*
My creative shenanigans continued into Tween-dom where I’d write scripts for different plays and my siblings or childhood friends would then perform outside in our backyard. Many were hysterical performances that would surely have been worthy of an Oscar in screenwriting if memory serves me correctly.
In high school and college, short stories, speeches and even essays were one of the better ways for me to properly and effectively express myself. It often felt like leaving a paper trail of my heart’s sentiments for any one who wanted to read.
This very website started as a way for me to show my demo reel and the videos I produced once I finished broadcasting school. (It was originally named Caroline Made This as any of the OG readers will remember.) As it always does, writing and storytelling pulled me enough to add the Blog tab to my website and, as fate would have it, that’s how many of you found me here.
Including my previous job!
After over a decade in advertising and now with a newly minted video broadcasting diploma under my belt, I was offered a copywriting job partly based on my writing skills from this very website.
A job that took me from a copywriter to senior copywriter to running a department and then leaving to start my own business.
From my writing.
From my storytelling.
It seems the art of storytelling has been etched in my soul for a lifetime.
We flew to Hawaii in January of 2020 so the hubster could interview for a position that he was eventually offered here.
Yes, right before the entire world shut down.
Our first few days were a whirlwind. We had interviews in 3 different hospitals across the island. (Yes, they asked spouses to come along for them because ultimately, the spouses are the reason why most doctor families will leave Hawaii. They want to make sure we’re happy too. We get interviewed too. NO PRESSURE!) Then a real estate agent showed us around different areas. Then we drove around to check out what we could. Usually by the time we got back to the hotel, we were wiped out, sinking our heavy heads into the pillows, considering how one major decision will set off a domino effect for the rest of our lives.
When we finally had a day off to digest things and sit down, we decided to head to a famous local fish market that was down the road from our hotel that I had read about. After we picked up our poke, we went outside to find a table to sit. It was a busy hour so the tables were all occupied.
The hubster and I were just about to say, let’s go eat it back at the hotel before we heard a voice say,“Hey, there’s room here.”
We saw an older gentleman gesture to two empty seats at his table. He had been speaking with a lady at a table next to him, so I assumed that he knew her and he would move his seat next to her once we sat down.
As we both sat down and opened up our poke to examine it’s local deliciousness, the man asked us which kind we got. He told us the one he was eating he watched come straight off the boat this morning and then laughed.
He continued talking to the woman at the next table until she got up and said goodbye, offering him a kind smile while saying, “It was nice to talk story with you. Maybe I’ll see you next time.”
He immediately turned back to us and started chatting.
Wait. He didn’t know her?
They just talked and then he offered us a seat at his table?
I was immediately brought back to my time in Bangkok or Hong Kong or London or Tokyo, where you make your way to an empty spot at a table and just order your drinks, even if you don’t know the people seated next to you.
“This place is awesome,”I thought.
He continued to chat with us about fishing and asked why we were in town. We told him we were considering moving here and he didn’t blink. Just chatted about the weather and warm waves.
He calmly left when he was finished with his food, wishing us a good stay, telling us he hoped we’d enjoy his hometown.
Even as friendly Midwesterners, the hubster and I generally keep to ourselves when traveling. Sure, we’re friendly, but our overall feeling is we’re visitors; it’s best to remain observant of cultures, traditions, behaviors and then proceed with caution, often only when asked or invited.
Being in Hawaii felt like a scene out of the Truman Show. Everyone offered a kind smile and talked story with us. Would we hit the end of the ocean on our way home and find out this was a TV set all along?
I can happily attest that didn’t happen.
In fact, we moved to this wonderful place!
A place that, now, when people come over to our home, they talk story with us in our hallway by the front door before leaving.
It’s not small talk either.
You know, the kind of small talk that makes introverts’ skin crawl. That kind of chatter is just filled with the everyday pleasantries of how they are doing or what the weather is like.
Nope, not talking story.
While talking story can still be quick conversations, I’ve enjoyed them so much more than the small talk of brushing shoulders with an acquaintance in the moment.
Talking story in our hallway has become part of our home. From the painter telling us how many grandchildren he was excited to see later that week, to a contractor sharing his tips for adjusting to the move here and then our neighbor gently teaching us how to pronounce the names of crossroads we live at while explaining who they were named after and how important they are here.
It’s not too intrusive.
It’s just the right amount of genuine interest.
It’s a sincere connection.
Talking story is a gentle kindness.
It’s the sort of storytelling this world needs.