Thursday, May 15, 2014


If you’re the kind who likes to poke around the internet you soon learn how many October folks are out there telling their stories. Without the noisy fanfare that accompanies Gen-X trends, Gen-Oct is quietly exercising its new-found ability to speak up and let its voice be heard.
Spend a few minutes on the web and you’ll realize there is no limit to the ways we can have our say. Our October peers are telling their stories in the form of blogs, videos, Facebook postings, and chat rooms. They are writing family histories, self-help manuals, and a multitude of fictional offerings. (Are you into Geriatric Vampire literature?) However they choose to be heard, they are speaking up.

Moreover, in this internet era of ebooks, Print-on-Demand publishing, and online distribution our stories can be shared more easily and widely than ever before. I can’t explain why this blog attracts a modest, but stable Russian readership. But it does.

As a veteran of these story-telling times I continue to urge my October friends to tell their own stories---in whatever form works for them. After all, at our stage of life we probably have the time to do that, and given our history (whatever that may be) we certainly have stories to tell. 
Did you know that for $4.00 or $5.00 each you can print (with POD) a dozen paperback copies of your family history or your personal life story. True, you have to write and edit the material and learn the publishing routine. But beyond that the cost is zero. Most of us can afford that. (Truth to tell, I pay $25 per book to have each of them listed on Amazon-Europe. That's the extent of my investment, beyond several hundred hours per story.)
Of course, no matter what you have to say or how you say it, telling a story is a very personal and individual activity. In spite of what the so-called “experts” say, there is no right way, no wrong way. The only test that matters is what works for you.
That’s what makes storytelling such a liberating way to spend your October hours. As one who writes for myself, without worrying about what sells, I tell my stories my way. The Geriatric Adolescence tales I tell are meant to please me, not some publisher.
Early on I had one professional judge praise (albeit faintly) my “dialogued based” style, while another found the same piece “lacking in detail and description.” Fact is, I try to let my characters tell their own story, in their own words and thoughts, with as little narrative interference as possible. I realize that most “experts” do it differently. That’s okay. Actually, I have a theory about why my stories are “dialogue driven,” with a minimum of scene-setting description.
Perhaps like you, I am a child of the radio generation. For reasons I find hard to explain to my grandchildren, I grew up spending long hours in the living room, staring intently at the big Philco upright, while the dramas I followed (from the Lone Ranger to Boston Blackie) were played out in nothing more than spoken dialogue, and mood-setting sounds and music. With only those minimal prompts to pull me along, it was left to my imagination to fill in the visual details of the characters and their settings, to paint my own pictures of the action they depicted.

That may be why I lean toward a dialogue driven (both spoken and internal) format to tell my stories. As long as I provide a minimally furnished stage on which my characters can play out their roles, I am comfortable asking the reader to fill in the colors and fabrics. As a youngster that worked for me. After all, how else would I have known that Sam Spade looked just like my dad?

Bottom Line---Your stories won’t be like mine or anyone else’s. They are your stories. And however you chose to tell them, if having your October say appeals to you they, they ought to be told. So why not do it?


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