Maybe it’s the story-teller in me, or the Irish, but I’ve always been prone to over-hyping any account of my experiences. You know, the reality of a few minutes becomes hours and hours. If an eye witness is present, then that wrecks it. But, in their absence, the sky’s the limit. My dad was always the best at this, ignoring mum’s eye roll and making the telling bigger and bigger every time.
This afternoon, it struck me that these days of isolation and few companions have made us all story-tellers. My mum was recounting a phone conversation and as her voice went up to convey her incredulity I realised that, without realising it, she has become a story-teller just like my dad. Just like me.
I’ve heard sad accounts of people who feel they have to text multiple times to make sure their family truly know how much they are struggling. I’ve also felt the need to go over the top when I’ve had a good time with someone, freezing in their garden, coming back with an aura of wood smoke that takes days, sorry, weeks to disappear.
This is the time of exaggeration and tall tales. It is the only way to grab hold of someone and make sure they are in the experience with us. We can’t hug, but we can say, a hundred times, ‘I love you’. If you were cold, say you were freezing so the hearer shivers. If you’re lonely, say it out loud so they ache with you. If you’re happy, laugh with them.
Make your stories linger like the smoke on my coat. Stretch them out and exaggerate the heck out of them so they come really really near.
No news? Nothing to say? Tell your best story and it will bring your people as close as you wish they were.
A thousand times closer.