Saturday, June 10, 2017

"We are all born storytellers.

Our inner voice tells the first story we ever hear.” 
~ Kamand Kajouri 

I teach an Intro to Literature class at college, and this last semester I created the "once upon a time" theme.  No matter how old we are, I think hearing the phrase "once upon a time" will stop us and make us listen.  I hope the digital age does not spoil the storytellers of the 21st century, and so I am on a toot to promote writing with pen or pencil instead of the text or the tweet.  What will the young children remember from their grandparents?  Selfies?  Text messages?  How many of the adults in their lives have told the stories of their past?  We baby boomers lived in a fascinating time...from hiding under desks for air raid drills to protests for civil rights, not to mention assassinations of iconic figures and in the current political scene, think Watergate and Deep Throat!

Ah, yes, before smart phones, we were smart people!  How many of you out there kept diaries?  Complete with keys!
The word diary comes from the Latin diarium ("daily allowance," from dies "day"). The word journal comes from the same root (diurnus "of the day") through Old French jurnal (modern French for day is jour).  The earliest use of the word to mean a book in which a daily record was written was in Ben Jonson's comedy Volpone in 1605.

Diaries have evolved since ancient times.   Initially personal, in the Renaissance some individuals wanted not only to record events, as in medieval chronicles and itineraries, but also to put down their own opinions and express their hopes and fears, without any intention to publish these notes.   Today, the journal has taken over talking about everything from travel to cooking.  Although personal tidbits can be sprinkled within, the diary still has the personal feel to it.  

In the shop, I have some of these repurposed book covers turned into journal or diary possibilities.

This would be a neat gift for a new teacher to record her journey...especially a 4th grade teacher!
Then I have new books for thoughts...that may be a better way to name the diary/journal today...just books for thoughts.  Life gets posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but what about those thoughts that you just need to express without emojis and comments.  What is wrong with actually writing those thoughts down?
What got me thinking about writing was my adventure with April the giraffe and her pregnancy saga.  Several TV stations streamed the YouTube camera starting in February until April finally gave birth to Tajira in April.  What fascinated me was how many people across the world wanted to talk and share this experience.  One group I joined was from a Denver CBS station, and we actually made friends with the social media guy, Jason, and recently he married, and many of us posted good wishes on Facebook...once upon a time there was a pregnant giraffe.

On Saturday, April 15, the Animal Adventure Park’s “Giraffe Cam” channel scored its biggest day, with more than 14 million live views. A peak of more than 1.2 million people watched April give birth live on Saturday, April 15, at 9:55 a.m. ET on Saturday. That makes it one of the top five most-watched moments for a live event ever on YouTube.
What is even more fascinating is that a pen pal group blossomed from this, and people still stay in touch!  That means people do yearn for the written word and the stories people tell, and they are interested in what people are doing and who they are.  April's keepers, Corey and Alyssa, would wave goodbye at night when they cleaned out the stalls and fed April and her mate, Oliver.

My sea glass artist knew I was an April watcher and brought me this adorable ornament, and I do have a necklace available in the store with the double giraffe momento if you know an April fan.


I also have "books for thought"...BFTs...made from old records...I confess to having had these tucked away, but, in my clear out the chaos, they resurfaced! 
Of course, dealing in antiques, there are many once upon a time stories woven into those items.  To buy something from the past is to connect with its stories and add a new chapter to its life. 

You can tell I have been on a journey of my life of 27 years with stuff...I am trying to rewrite the stories of the stuff in the shop...in the meantime, maybe write instead of texting or tweeting...perhaps talk about your self instead of snapping a selfie...connect with something more than the digital box.


“To write a diary is to make a series of choices about what to omit, what to forget.
A memorable sandwich, an unmemorable flight of stairs. A memorable bit of conversation surrounded by chatter that no one records.”
Sarah Manguso

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