When did we get too old for bedtime stories?
My Granddad was to storytelling, what Louis Armstrong was to sheet music.
Walking from his bungalow to the woods where two stone lions stood at the gates, he’d tell me the story of Jack and the Beanstalk again and again.
Boy, did that man know how to tell Jack and the Beanstalk. Like a master composer crafting infinite variations on a theme he could spin the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk anyway that he wanted and always keep it fresh.
I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life in awe of his skill
While most of us think of stories as something fixed to the page with all the precision and skill of a particularly meticulous butterfly collection–still, static and commercially sharable–he was a jazz musician with an audience of one and he never played the same solo twice.
And at some point, my Granddad stopped telling me stories. Either he thought I was too old to hear them or I thought I was too old to listen.
Who says you’re too old for stories?
Two months ago, I ended up at the DO Lectures (Go visit the link, you’re welcome) on a farm just outside of Cardigan, Wales. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the DO Lectures, they’re about bringing together awesome people who DO great things and inspiring others to get out there into the world and DO great things too.
And, in amongst the talks I ran through fields of samphire and talked about stories. I drank gin that tasted of seaweed and talked about stories. I braved camp fire smoke that left me with streaming eyes and talked about stories.
And I met Darren (go read Darren. But read me first. Open Darren in a new tab, finish this, recommend it, share it, and then go read Darren) and talked to Darren about stories.
Darren likes stories but doesn’t like reading books. Listening to the bedtime stories that his wife reads to his kids though, that’s another thing. But at some point, his kids are going to be too old for bedtime stories and his wife will stop reading, and I got thinking…
When did we get too old for bedtime stories. And why can’t we have them again?
And maybe it was the seaweed gin talking (After reading Darren, go buy some seaweed gin. It’s bloody moorish) but I made a decision there and then that I was going to get on Periscope (If you’re not using Periscope , then after you’ve read Darren and after you’ve bought some Gin, go download Periscope, you’ll see why) and read a story to the world every night.
Sharing awesome stories. That was what I was going to DO
And then the gin ran out and the fires ran low and the mountains of Wales turned to a flat horizon in my rearview mirror.
If you say you’re going to DO it…
It took me a month to gather the courage to start reading stories to the world. In the end, it was only the realisation that, as the smell of those Welsh campfires washed out of my clothes, if I didn’t DO something soon, then my words would just be empty fireside talk.
At first it was just me and Darren, with me reading Fairy Tales. One night, it was just me talking to an audience of zero because Darren couldn’t make it. Since then, the audience has grown to cover the UK, USA, Mexico, Canada, and calling it bedtime stories doesn’t quite work anymore.
They’re just stories, for people who like being read to.
Right now, I’m reading my way through Le Morte D’Arthur, a little bit at a time, every week night at 9pm UK time, 1pm LA time, 4pm NYC time, or if you’re following me on Periscope @SimonTellsTales, you can just watch the replay (HINT).
So, if you miss the feeling of having someone read you a story, if you miss the connection that you used to get from having someone share words with you,
Come and join us on Periscope.
You’re always welcome.
Le Morte D’Arthur
Read live on Periscope
9pm London time, 1pm LA time, 4pm NYC time
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