Last night I told stories to kids in 4th to 6th grade. One of them, sitting right in front of me, was constantly asking, “is that a true story?”. After the first time she asked I replied, “it’s truly a story. Whether it actually happened or not, whether it did but in a different way, I can’t really tell. What is it that you want to know?” she shrugged, smiled, but didn’t have an answer. I continued and after some time she asked, “is that a true story?”. Another kid said, “it’s a story. Some things in it are not exactly like they would happen to us. I don’t think I’ll ever meet a talking owl, but what’s the problem?”. The kid with the question looked puzzled by her own question. Later she asked again, “is that a true story?”. “And what if it is?” asked I. “I don’t know, I just want to know if that’s a true story”. “Ok,” I added, “it is. How does that feel? still have a question?” she didn’t know. During the next story I paused and said, “by the way, this isn’t a true story.” She laughed out loud. “Well?” I wanted to know, “are you ok with the stories?” “Yep,” she said smiling, “I just need to know if that’s a true story. I don’t know why, it’s just a question I have.” Like the answer I had, I suppose. But now I have a question:
What’s with the TRUE story thing?
P.S. before I walked in, I overheard this –
“Who’s the storyteller?” “Limor Shiponi”. “Oh no! I know her! She’s frightening!” [Hope to stand up to my reputation] #storytelling
— Limor Shiponi (@LimorShiponi) February 14, 2014
Well, I did, but with a wink in the eye which I owe to the boy I overheard. I love the way an audience can move a storyteller to a new place.