The Best Conversation

I turned on NPR while I was filling the tub for my bubble back a couple of hours ago, and was delighted to find that tonight’s programming was a celebration of Storytelling. I realize that there are those who think public radio exists only to play infinite hours about business performance management and such, but they do have some really interesting entertainment programs, (mostly on weekends) and they’re not even borrowed from the BBC.

Tonight, while I soaked in hot sudsy water lightly scented with tea and jasmine, I listened to an entrancing Indian stale about frogs, guava trees, courtship and Coca-Cola, and heard the distinctive voice of Sonia Manzano reading micro-fiction written by a prisoner taking part in an adult literacy program called “All Write.” (Sonia plays the part of Maria on Sesame Street, for those who don’t recognize her name.)

I also heard the warmest storytelling voice ever, a woman named Diane Wolkstein, share a Haitian folk tale about a magic orange tree. As a result, I’m now craving oranges, but aside from that, I’m entranced with something she said: that good storytelling, because there is connection, and because there are silences, is like a conversation, “…the best conversation…” she said.

I have a great appreciation for storytellers, who are sometimes writers, and sometimes actors, and generally a bit of both, and I have an even greater appreciation of stories themselves, and not just the epics. I like the small stories. The twists and turns of every-day life.

The best conversations.