Storytelling creates community.

I started doing volunteer radio because I wanted to become a better storyteller. I started with folk songs. I would go through my collection of recordings, tote them into the station and then tell the stories behind the songs. Some of my favorites were Old Joe Clark, Railroad Bill, and Lost John Dean. The music of the past intrigued me, and the way the stories and songs changed from region to region seemed like a huge puzzle that needed to be solved. Telling these stories on the radio gave me a chance to practice some storytelling without a crowd looking back at me. It was kind of like hanging out, alone, with my friends.

My desire for storytelling started as I was traveling. I spent the larger part of a decade hitch-hiking and taking freight around the country, which made me have to open up to strangers and folks I normally would not have spoken to. Since I was constantly a stranger, I found myself learning about a wide variety of people along my route. I also found myself telling my own story, and each time I seemed to find myself closer to some new truth I was learning about myself.

I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.”

– Lena Waithe, screenwriter for Bones and Master of None

Above is a playlist of some old random freight hopping clips from when I was traveling by foot… I have a handful of random freight hopping videos on my YouTube channel. I’ll upload some more in the future, so stay tuned & subscribe.

Storytelling events have become one of my new favorite things to do. I have so much fun telling stories about my travels, and about those awesome folks that I’ve met along the way… and am still meeting. I love to hear about what makes others “tick” and do what they do. I get nervous standing in front of folks, telling stories like that. When I get nervous I remember all those things I learned about. I remember that everyone in the room has been through their own battles, and have tough things they are also doing… and that they are human just like I am… and so I just start right off letting the audience know I’m nervous. Now we can share in the feeling together, and lighten the load.

Please, take the time to tell someone your story, especially those close to you. Don’t be shy to tell people who you are and what you are about. Doing so creates community, compassion and understanding. Who are you? Consider telling me part of your story in the comments below.