Recently, the two of us got thinking about the early days of By the River. And as we shared our memories of the first couple of tellings, we were struck by how simple it really was. Back then, we both deeply held the wish to tell stories to adults. There was one story that both had fallen in love with. So we got together a group of friends and told them that story.
That is really how simple it was:
Since then, some things have changed. We have searched for, stumbled upon, and been gifted many beautiful stories. We have added more themes to our repertoire. We tell more than one story in our circles. But what has stayed the same - is the simplicity. Perhaps therein lies part of the magic, the impact of our storytelling
The simplicity has been in the nature of stories.
The simplicity has been in the settings we happily agree to tell stories - people's homes, gardens, terraces, board rooms, cafeterias, standing amidst cubicles!
The simplicity has been in the way we tell - no props, no costume, no clever wisecracks or devices.
And the simplicity has been in the way we simply attend to each other - listening as deeply as we narrate the story.
This simplicity requires that I be vulnerable - to the story and to the audience, a combination of friends and strangers. This simplicity requires that I be real – narrating and listening in the best way I can in that moment. And it is this simplicity, I suspect, that invites the listeners to be their vulnerable, real selves, which in turn creates the space for authentic conversations to follow - with oneself, with each other.
So to all the times, people have asked us what is our process - to be able to tell stories the way we do - here's the really simple answer: