By John W. Vander Velden
Being a storyteller and a writer are not EXACTLY the same thing. I am a storyteller that at times uses words to share that story. Or a storyteller that writes.
But I have a problem. You see I never understood the mechanics of language…completely. I tell my writing friends that grammar is a foreign language. Perhaps it is in my upbringing. Perhaps, during my more malleable years, I didn’t give it sufficient effort. Perhaps the papers returned drenched in red ink closed the door. Who knows? And at this point it doesn’t matter.
When I shed the fear of rules I did not understand. When the stories within me screamed to be released, unbound from the chains of the fear of failing. Then I began in earnest. That would have been in 2000.
I wrote my first story, “Tree in the Meadow”, out of a need to tell that story. I wrote accepting that I would have to hire others to clean it up, to correct the thousands of mistakes in grammar I knew I would make.
I shared the first draft of that yet unpublished story with a trusted friend. I was told that “it showed talent”. That was enough to put the keyboard in gear.
So I began 411 Apple Street and the nearly seven year journey to the completion of the first draft. Work’s demands changed in 2007 and pages progressed more swiftly. I fell into a rhythm. A book draft from September till March, a short story perhaps in the spring, some revising during the summer. A large quantity of work came out of those five years.
Then I felt I had a body of work sufficient that publication began to seem a possibility. Things began to change. Building an internet presence became another task to learn. Blogging…. I knew very little of blogging when I set up my blog in March of 2012. What I learned was it takes time…lots of time. And often I wonder if it is time well spent. How many times I considered ending Ramblings…Essays and Such…and yet each week I post another short. Ramblings is a literary blog, if that makes any sense. For nearly six years, week in and week out, I post an essay or what I call a micro-story. Typically under 500 words. There are more than 300 in the archive.
Rambling’s following is, even after all this time, a small number, but has grown in the last year. Again I wonder of the value taken from other writing projects. But I have learned a great deal from blogging. I have learned how to distill to the core, to simplify a concept to a small enough bite size piece that can be covered sufficiently in a few paragraphs. In other words to be concise.
Another side effect that has come from the experience is the volume of material written. I have assembled forty some into a small book called Glimpses from the Window of My World which I have given as gifts. Nearly each month my local paper prints one of my blog posts. More than 50 have found their way into the Plymouth Pilot News and in that way I have reached many more than my weekly jaunt in cyber-land.
I have crossed 500 words and so I will, my friends, squeeze the closing. Storytelling. Now I stand on a new threshold. My book Misty Creek will soon be published. I consider the book a success just by reaching this point.
There are other stories. If God gives me a chance, I will tell those as well. But each day, I will strive to be the storyteller I am. It is my hope you will come along for the ride.
(624 Words) 12–15–2017