Friday, May 5, 2017

The Art of Storytelling

By Phyllis f. McManus

As a little girl growing up in the country, our families lived only a stone throw away from one another.

My grandparents’ house was a daily adventure for me and all my cousins. Hot summer days were spent on grandmother’s front porch with Grandmother being the center of attention. All eyes would focus on her as she told another one of her ghost stories.

There is a difference in good storytelling and great story telling. My Grandmother was a great storyteller. It seemed to come natural.

Every one of her stories had its beginning, something happened and then the ending. It had foundation and structure, but I’m sure she didn’t plan it that way. She was old school; living in a time that story telling was made for fun. Her audience was always a group of kids sitting at her feet as she rocked in her rocker. She could tell us a ghost story and draw us into her adventure like a catfish on a rusty hook. Yes, she was a master of storytelling. She could take us on a journey of haunted houses, ghostly graveyards, headless horsemen and dark stormy nights with just a few words with anticipation in her voice. She used her gentle way of storytelling to teach us how to plant a garden, get alone with others and how to make good decisions. Of course at our age, we had no idea she was molding our young brains. We just knew we were having the time of our lives enjoying Grandmother spin tales of spooky characters.

I’m sure Grandmother planted a seed of storytelling in me. I have used several of her characters in my books. As a writer you absorb information in an abundance of ways. Mine came while sitting either at the feet of my grandmother or on her lap.
Phyllis f. McManus is an author of eight books. She writes Southern fiction with a touch of mystery and suspense. Her most treasured work is her two award winning non-fiction short stories that appear in her latest book, “Southern Patchwork Quilt.”    “The Southern Belle Breakfast Club” series is causing a stir in the reader’s world. She brings life to a group of older Southern women who treasure their bond of friendship. She started writing for therapy when she lost both parents in a car accident. She soon discovered writing was a journey for her recovery. Phyllis and her husband, Don, live in North Carolina. When she isn’t busy writing and public speaking, they enjoy traveling. They cherish life with their son and grandson who lives on six acres of land they call McManus Hill.