Updated: Jul 30
There is a Yiddish proverb that goes something like this : God made man because He loves stories. I’d take that a step further : “God made Southerners because He loves great stories.” In the South, storytelling is pretty much regarded as a spiritual gift.
If you want to be certain to find a place for great narrative, you would be wise to select one of these venues ( pardon the legal terminology ) :
1-The Beauty Shop (I.e., the “salon”);
2-an old country store which has a backdrop of pickled egg jars , chest freezers full of popsicles and glass bottles of pop, and a wall display crammed with cigarette packs and chewing tobacco, and All bathed in the fragrance of burned coffee;
3-a 19th hole bar and grill at a barely-making-it Golf Course / Country Club.
The finest tales, full of gossip, jokes , lies, fish tales, bragging, arguing ,teasing , advice. and half-baked truth will be spun in those settings.
Any good story to be worth it
s salt is never a “set” story. In other words, once a story’s been unleashed on the world, it survives the test of time by taking on at least alteration or embellishment on the re-telling which spices up the matter like a sprinkle of cinnamon or cayenne pepper. The story must grow to carry on.
In my experience, the greatest storyteller I have ever heard is a former law partner of mine, Curtis Dowling. Curtis is a real story master because he is so creative with his embellishments. It might consist of a different sound effect, a new sub-plot, and sometimes even a new character. He often makes them up on-the-fly in mid-story, and I can tell because he gets a twinkle in his eye and a twitchy smirk. Watching him work his craft is mesmerizing. He has this one story In particular about accidentally locking his keys in his car in the parking lot at Smiley’s Garage in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and even though I’ve heard it well over a hundred times, his story gains traction and life with each new embellishment.
If you want to convince or persuade someone about something, employ a story, and if you have to tell your story more than once, then learn the art of adding embellishments. A character in Allan Gurganus’s short story, “ A Hog Loves Its Life” , made this statement about stories and timing : “a story if told just at the right time can stand for something”. A maxim for trial lawyers, also, but that’s another story for another time.