Hey! Thanks for reading. Please keep up on all of my storytelling quest blogs here.
Part of this storytelling quest includes a series of interviews with individuals that I’ve deemed interesting and steeped in the art and/or idea of storytelling. My first interview in this series is with my wife Kori.
Kori is one of the most interesting people I know. Not in that “I travel the world and have sat with sultans and ate monkey brains” way. We constantly get into discussions about politics, comedy, food, films, work…and we don’t have kids, so we don’t have that buffer. We have each other. No kid is pooping a diaper or going to baseball practice to distract us from one another.
We are each other’s kids.
I think Kori has a very unique perspective on story; she used to want to be a fiction writer, and for my money, I think she’s one of the best writers I know. She sure is heck of a good editor, when I bug her to read my stuff.
As I write this part, she’s at work, not knowing that when she gets home I will be interviewing her about her thoughts on writing, storytelling, and choosing a career in the medical field over a career as a professional writer…which is totally fine with me, by the way. Her income allows me to buy extra shoes and Legos!
Now I’ll sit around, cook dinner, and wait for her to get home… (hours pass)
OK. Dinner was smashing! And I’ve blindsided Kori into having a discussion with me about storytelling.
(Note: we did not get to conduct the interview last night. We ate, but had a couple of friends over to play some board games, and I didn’t want to rush Kori’s answers, so here we sit on Saturday morn, finishing the process, but I did get to try a couple of cool new games that I’ll share at a later date!)
Me: Let’s discuss your decision to choose the medical field over writing as a profession.
K: I’ve always loved to write. At a certain point, though, I realized I struggled with story telling. I knew I couldn’t make a living at writing fiction, so I dabbled with the idea of writing human interest stories. But at that point in my life, I wasn’t mature enough to do that successfully either-I had the skills to write, I trust my inner monologue to add dimension to other’s stories, but I was clumsy, awkward, and not at all able to get to know people on the level I would need to in order to be successful as a non-fiction author. What I’ve learned to do with the skills I was given is to let them naturally develop over time. Being a perpetually impatient person, this hasn’t always been an easy lesson to learn. But when I was younger and trying to find a way to make a living and support myself, I had to throw my energy behind utilizing the skills I had at the time; mainly intelligence and empathy. Medicine seemed like a natural choice for me; I’d get to work at developing my skills as a pharmacist in school for six years, the field allowed me to work as individually or collaboratively as I wished, I’d get to work in my community and help those around me with the most important thing in their life- their health, and I also chose a field that involves a deep well of material to keep me engaged in life long learning.
If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve never really closed the door on going back to trying writing as a profession. Nothing passes the time quite like writing. I’ve always hoped that over time, I would develop enough life experience and body of character to make a living at sharing stories. We’ll see. But since I never wanted to have to rely on writing to put clothes on my back, I made some choices that might very well lead to me not writing a thing. I’ve made peace with that. For the most part.
Me: I think you are a fabulous writer, and I know we talked about this a bit yesterday, but what holds you back from writing more?
K: I don’t trust that I have anything important to say. I still love to write-it is the medium in which I feel I am able to best express myself and everything that I think and feel. However, I have a difficult time with sharing stories. I know what emotions I want to convey, I know what I want my reader to feel, I just have a difficult time choosing the story that would be the best vehicle for my message. Life experience, in my opinion is something I lack. Maybe thats why the closest I’ve come feeling comfortable at telling stories is when I try and tell someone else’s story.
Me: What do you personally feel makes a good story?
K: A great character. In my opinion, if you have a great character, not much has to happen to them to captivate your audience.
Me: I know you are not a writer, but we do imbibe a ton of story-centered media. What advice, as a consumer, would you give prospective storytellers?
K: 1) For science fiction and fantasy writers: play by the rules of the universe you’ve created. Don’t create an entire universe to tell your story in and then break the rules of that universe.
2) For fiction writers, tell more character based stories: if you think your character is clique, or the relationships you’ve created are clique, then you’re probably right, and the story isn’t worth telling-go back to the drawing board.
Well, that’s it! My first interview in the books on this storytelling quest. I hope you can takeaway something from Kori’s experiences. I find that when we share our struggles, we find that many of us suffer the same setbacks, and realizing that you are not the only one can help tremendously.
On a side note, Kori has agreed to be a part of what I do this year. Since most of my adventures are a tag-team effort, it only makes sense, and I look forward to getting her involved. She has a truly unique perspective on the world, and this blog will be better for it…just wait for that Youtube channel to kick off!
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Kori’s insight is awesome. and your questions were great. Makes me think of why I read a story and what stories attract my attention. Got to keep the brain moving in the summer.