PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIES: Sharing stories and memories that make up a life

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By Kirsten Laskey

Of all the arts, I think storytelling is the most powerful; it can transport you to far away destinations and introduce characters that feature a wide range of personalities.

But best of all are the emotions that a great story produces.

My favorite storyteller is my grandfather. He is hands-down the best in my family.

Whether he tells about his father throwing bread rolls into a tuba during a band concert or the time a new elevator was installed in the coal mine where he worked and the miners, out of fear for the new-fangled contraption, hung a sign over it that said, “abandon all hope, ye who enter,” my ears perk up and my attention is instantly captured.

What makes my grandfather such a great storyteller? I think it’s partly because he is able to recall so many wonderful details that make up his life.

Even though he is in his late 80s, his memory remains amazingly sharp.

He still remembers, as a young man, working as a surveyor on the trains in the untamed areas of Alaska, the time the prostitute shot an impatient customer who was barging his way into the brothel.

What did she say in her defense? “She was defending her honor,” my grandfather explained.

More important than memory, are the feelings he shows while telling these stories.

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