In the spirit of trying to set up a regular routine for the content of my blog posts (as discussed on 21 February), I’m trying out Thoughtful Tuesdays. While browsing online, I’ve come across a list of fairly deep, thought-provoking questions from a book by Gregory Stock, PhD. According to the introduction, the questions will force the reader interpret his past, project himself into hypothetical situations, face difficult dilemmas, and make painful choices. I’m not sure I’m anxious to face difficult dilemmas or make painful choices, but at a glance, I can see how these questions could be a journey of personal growth, so I’m willing to take a chance.
For today’s entry, I randomly selected Question 65 (whew, it’s an easy one to start this new feature!):
When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it? If so, why?
When I tell a story, I want people to be entertained, so yes, I do try to spice things up. I don’t exaggerate to the point where the twelve ounce bass I actually caught becomes a leaping, lunging twelve pound monster in the retelling, but any chance I get, I make the details more colorful without sacrificing the overall veracity of the tale. I remember telling a story as a child, no more than eight or nine years old, and I substituted the word historical for hysterical (or it could have been vice versa). I wanted to use big words to impress my audience, but ended up sending my mom and our neighbors into fits of giggles with my ill-chosen vocabulary. My already fragile young ego certainly did not appreciate being laughed at, but in time I found that if I stuck with words I knew and wove them together just so, I could get people to laugh WITH me. That was a heady feeling, almost as if I had a secret power. I lived to find some mundane event I could retell at Sunday breakfast so I could witness my parents laughing so hard that they would refuse to drink their coffee for fear it would come out their noses.
As a writer, I strive even harder to put just the right spin on my words. I want my readers to be engaged in my story, whether it is fact or fiction. I hope that, depending on the subject and their own experiences, the reader walks away laughing, crying, thinking, or remembering.