Today was the first day of my creative writing class. I really love teaching and I don’t do it as much as I should. There’s something invigorating about it. I love the challenge of keeping my students engaged and figuring out the best way to present the information to them. The best is when you see the light bulb go on. I love it. As much as I love sharing with my students, teaching has benefits for the teacher, especially when a writer teaches creative writing.
Introductions are often a part of my first lecture. I let the students say a little about themselves and I talk about myself, often giving them a few of my credentials and any other information that makes me a qualified teacher. As a part of my intro, especially since I teach at a Bible college, I often point out that some of the gifts God gives us are evident from childhood. And that was definitely the case for me.
I told my class how I fell in love with telling stories. My early beginnings in storytelling started at home. I told my sisters stories to help them go to sleep. For some reason, some of the women in my family have a hard time sleeping. I have a horrible time sleeping and so does my daughter. As child, I entertained my sisters and myself by telling them stories at night. Unfortunately, the exercise completely backfired. My sisters would often stay up to hear what happened next.
I made up the characters and most of my stories were serial. Each night I would pick up where I left off the night before. My sisters would often direct the story. They would say, “So what happened with this character?” (amazing what you can remember. Some days I can’t remember where I put my phone but I can remember this). Our bedtimes were filled with stories and sometimes I would talk all night. My mother wasn’t always happy about this.
I have years of storytelling experience. I’m sure my sisters would testify that my skills left something to be desired back then. Prayerfully, I’ve improved over the years. But in my heart, I’m still that little girl, telling stories. I’m still in love with making people happy with the tales I spin.
Teaching this class reminded me that I am a storyteller. That I was one before I even knew what that meant. I think every writer needs what happened to me today. They need a reminder of why they write and the joy of writing…or should I say, the joy of telling stories.