June 20, 2016

The Story Teller in Me

By Clint Ballard

I don’t consider myself a writer. I’m more of a story teller. I can talk a hungry dog off a meat wagon and a raccoon out of a tree. It was a God given gift, inherited through the grace of my Southern blood. I listened and learned to craft the tales from the South by years of hearing them from the folks I call family and friends. I guess I get it mostly from my Dad, he has a way with words so to speak. My Grandmother Doris Ballard was a good as they got here in Carolina, I use to sit and listen to her for hours. I like to start in on a good one in a group and spin it like I was dancing to a Banjo by a campfire. I mean if you’re going to tell a story in the South you have to have some meat and taters.

I do not write by an outline, instead I just sit down and let my thoughts flow. I just simply start telling the story as if I was talking to you about the Black Angus we raised and the time they got on a golf course and tore up a back fairway. Of course, no one knew until the next morning when the golfers, dressed nice, meet up with the dirty herd around the 12th hole.  It ended up costing our family a pretty penny and the herd of Angus a new home, but it sure makes for a good story. See it can be that simple. Take a simple story about an escape herd of Black Angus and the nicely dressed golfers and just describe it simply as if you were talking to your best friend or a group of strangers at a Church social. Keep it simple, that’s the way you tell a good story. Stick with the basic and elaborate when it feels right. Keeping it simple will help you hone in better on your writing and the more you write the easier it feels.

I don’t try to use big words outside the little yard of my vocabulary. I did graduate college but I spent most of my life messing around the family farm and talking barn talk with my buddies. I saw and heard enough in those innocent years to fill a five subject notebook, and I’m not one that likes to use a #2 pencil. So I can’t share them all. Words that are outside of the story or articles comfort zone makes the writer seem they are reaching for a rope tied to nothing.  I mean when you talk like I do, you don’t use words or phrases like, Oh Yes, I am a plethora of knowledge on the Black Angus Breed and can give in depth information on the breed and their history. Let me start…. See I don’t talk that way so I don’t try to write above my raising. My mommy always told me never forget who had you and where they came from to do so.

So just like that, that easy. Just sit down and tell the story, enjoy yourself as your fingers dance the jitter bug with the key board. Lead the story like leading a girl on a crowded dance floor. Just simply choose your song and enjoy the dance.
Clinton Harding Ballard is a shorty story writer with a lot of Southern with and charm. He has been published in Cornelius Today and Counterpoint. He currently is writing about his Southern farm raising and his family’s dysfunction and un bridal love. When he is not writing he hangs out with his dog Karl and waits for another story to visit his head’s front porch. You can keep up with Clint on Facebook, his blog site, TELLINONMYSOUTH.COM or email @

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