Telling Stories is Like Doing Card Tricks

I have some “good stories” from my life. Last week I told a story I havent told in a while to AS and JW. For some reason it made me start thinking about the process of telling my personal stories. Why do I tell them? When do I tell them?

Telling my personal stories feels a bit like doing card tricks. I share these little bits of myself – sometimes fantastical, sometimes impressive, sometimes magical, sometimes revealingWhat makes me share my stories?

What makes someone go around and perform lots of card tricks to everyone they meet? If you perform a card trick every now and then, perhaps the purpose is to share your magic. But if I go around constantly performing my magic tricks (and I’m not saying I do), perhaps its more about my own need to perform magic than about the tricks themselves.

As I finish this post I realize it could be read as somehow judgmental of actual story-tellers, or magicians. There are people who do those things professionally. This post refers to people like myself — people who share their stories outside of professional settings to do so.

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.