Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: The Lost Art
By Lovia Larkin
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As I grew up, the distance I sat from him was equal to the distance my mind wandered as his tales were again retold. The hours turned into minutes and then the minutes dwindled to fleeting moments as I entered into young adulthood. I couldn’t comprehend the differences anymore. My life became filled with thoughts of boys and friends and anything other than the “days of yore.” I married and moved into a home of my own.
Something began to change with the seasons of my life. It began to turn again to yearning of the times when I sat on my father’s lap. As a new life began to grow within me so did the desire to hear the stories of the past. During the end of my pregnancy, Dad came to stay with me while my husband worked long stretches at the mine. The stories were again wonderful and refreshing as I sat across from him and listened to him retell his stories, his eyes twinkling with mischief as he relived them in his own mind. My son was born and I couldn’t wait for him to hear Grandpa tell his tales.
As he grew, I looked at my son I wanted so much for him to hear the stories, to see the past come alive in the soft warm voice of the one who had lived them. I was excited to see the look of wonder in his eyes, but the wonder wasn’t there. I was so disappointed. My son didn’t feel the past, the heritage. He didn’t long to hear the stories. He wanted to watch television, play video games or fiddle with the computer. Then one day it happened.
He asked about a story that Grandpa had told him when he was young. He wanted to rehear it. I tried to tell the stories to him, but did them no justice. Grandpa’s story days were gone. He couldn’t tell them the same anymore. They were jumbled in a minefield of Alzheimer’s holes. He was a master at spinning tales, but the art of story telling was lost on me.
The stories were gone. I hadn’t written them, I hadn’t recorded them and I would never hear them again. That part of history lost forever, except those pieces that I had hidden in my heart. I see my son in front of the TV, on the computer, playing video games and I wonder. Is this gift of history gone for future generations?
Is the art of story-telling dead? There is definitely an art to it. The tone of voice, the hand gestures, timing and expressions combine to make a hearer see the world through the eyes of the teller. I am not a teller. I can not captivate an individual or an audience with scenes from the past. The best I can do is put pen to paper. I wonder. And then I write.
I write the stories that rebound in my head. I write the memories that flood back with laughter and tears. I write so that the stories will not die, that one day the future will know what the past had to say. I write so that the art of heritage stories do not become extinct. I write hoping one day a teller will tell my tale and captivate an imagination.
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