INSPIRATION: Michael Paterniti’s “The Telling Room”

I’m reading Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room, a memoir about – you guessed it – storytelling. Just now I came upon a delicious paragraph perfect for hearing from readers and writers about where their stories come from and how they capture their attention. Of course, as far as we can tell, Paterniti is not fictionalizing his story…much. I am always suspicious! But like a writer friend says, it’s all true and it’s all fiction. I’ll let the passage stand for itself and see what you think. Paterniti is talking about a boy who fell under the magic of his father’s stories.

“Something about those stories chimed loudly inside the mind of the boy…It was a feeling of wonder, of aliveness…He would listen for hours and then think about the tales afterward, haunted by some weave of detail his father had spun…He would shut up and listen in a state of mesmerized joy.”

This is what motivates writers to put their stories on paper. It’s why so many people keep theirs in their heads and wait for opportunities to share them. Surely this has happened to you when you’ve listened to a good one or found one tripping around in your mind, taking shape suitable for retelling.

Share one with us. Tell us why it captured your attention and how it took shape in your mind.


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