Monday, August 22, 2011

In Luuurve and Writing vs Storytelling

First of all, I'm in love. It's Birthday Week over here in my corner of the blogosphere and my mom sent me a Black and Decker food processor. I opened it up, pulled it out of the mega box, and have it in a place of honor on my counter. I love it, even though I'm slightly intimidated by the fact that it's bigger than either my coffee pot OR my KitchenAid mixer (which I also covet, BTW).

I feel so adult. So legit. I am finally a Woman Who Can Cook Things. Or something like that. But like I said, it's a bit scary. It has suction cups on the bottom. SUCTION CUPS, PEOPLE! Seriously.

So, um, any idea what I can do with this? The instructions tell me how to use it, but I'm not sure what to use it for. Understand? Any foodies out there who love their food processors are encouraged to chime in. I also welcome recipe suggestions. Just sayin'.

Anyway... On to the blog.

Are you a writer or storyteller?

I fancy myself a storyteller. I like to share my stories and bring my friends along for the imaginary ride. I don't worry about the plot arcs, character development, or themes. Instead, I tell stories. There are characters. They do things. They go places. It's extraordinary, if only you could see how cool it is in my head.

But I'm not as good with taking that knack for storytelling and turning it out into written (or typed) words. There are too many questions. Too often I stop and ask myself, "Okay, wait. How did that happen? What about over there in that other scene--is that realistic?" The inner critic points out inconsistencies. And she wants to know all the backstory stuff. How did the world end up like this? What's the history? How'd it happen? When did it happen? Will it happen again? Why? How? When? Repeat...

I get lost in the mechanics of writing a story, especially when it comes to the technicalities, or the finer points. But when given the freedom to weave a tale fantastic? I'm your girl.

Do you think there's a difference between the two? Are you a better storyteller or a writer?


  1. Hmmm... what an interesting idea. I like to think I have the right mix of both, but sometimes the story in my head doesn't translate smoothly into words and I get so frustrated with the plodsing words I do throw together.

    You can be an amazing storyteller, but you definitely have to learn the mechanics of writing no matter how brilliant your stories.

  2. Having seen people that are good at one and suck (I mean SUCK) at the other, I think they are two skill sets. Ideally, I think authors should be a mix of the two, great at both. Iwould say I'm a mix, but I lean more toward writer (prose-crafter?) than storyteller. My roots in literary fiction...

  3. I think a lot of great storytellers are ruined when they start to obsess to much over the sentence level of their writing. It's much more important in my book to be a good story teller than a good writer. Of course, I think plot, characters, setting and theme are natural parts of "story" not natural parts of "writing". I strive to be a storyteller and a crafter of mythopoeia.

  4. For your food processor you can make all sorts of delicious things (I sounded like a bad salesman didn't I? Picture me with a terrible foreign accent) Salsa! Guacamole! Smoothies! Homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt! Squash soup! Other liquidy things!

    I'm definitely more of a storyteller. Sometimes I can't figure out how to put my thoughts to paper.

  5. Also, you can chop nuts with it, and make graham cracker crusts.

    I'm not into cooking or anything.

  6. Yup - there's definitely a difference between writing and storytelling. I think a great storyteller can get away with being a mediocre writer, but I think it's hard to find success the other way around.

    For me as a reader, it's all about connecting with the characters and their STORY! It bugs me when people get too caught up in sentence structure and MFA-type rules.

  7. I remember the joy of my first food processor. I'm not even a cook, I just wanted to be able to chop stuff up if I wanted. Great for pulverizing graham crackers, you know, if you ever want to. :)

    Have to say I'm a better writer than I am a storyteller. Still working on that part.

  8. I'm a better writer. Whenever I tell stories, they're always disjointed and I'm forever backtracking and adding in details that I forgot. When I write, I can shove the cursor wherever I want to add in missing details.

    Dear L.G. Smith is correct - crushing graham crackers is a breeze and essential when making cheesecake. Oh. Did I say that outloud? Sorry.

    Think of your food processor (I say that pro-cessor and not pra-cessor, just so you know), as a super blender. Anything you can do with your blender, you can do with your food processor.

    You can also use it for the making the following: bread crumbs, nut butters, doughs, hummus, pesto, mayo, salsa, mashed potatoes, cake batter, sorbet, flavored sugar, grating cheese/veggies...and a bunch more.

    There are usually a bunch of attachments you can buy for your processor as well.

    Oh, and the tahini you thought you couldn't make:

    - 2T seasame seeds (you can toast them in the oven if you want, but don't have to)
    - 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or olive, or veggie)
    - 1/4 tsp salt (if needed)

    Pulse the sesame seeds for a few seconds to break them up. Add the oil through the feeder hole slowly. You may need more or less oil depending on the age of your seeds. It should look like a thick peanut butter (or the old school Elmer's paste that I used to eat as a child - don't judge me).

    Done. See, you can do it too!

  9. @Miss Cole--"You can be an amazing storyteller, but you definitely have to learn the mechanics of writing no matter how brilliant your stories." Amen. Having the story to tell isn't enough..

    @Margo--I envy your roots in literary fiction. That's one genre that doesn't appeal to me. I think I'm intimidated!

    @Sarah--"obsess" is the right word. The "obsession" has side tracked my ability to just tell my story!

    @Cookie-- "Other liquidy things!" This absolutely made me snort and I'm not afraid to admit it. :)

    @Nicole--you raise a good point when you point out the tie between the characters and the story. A good story is only as good as the characters are believable.

    @LG--you remind me of myself. I'm not sure WHY I wanted a food processor, but chopping things into crumbles of nothing is great fun! :)

    @Linds--you know I love you. Now make and send me the cheesecake you've been talking about for over a year! ;)

  10. i'm totally jealous you have a kitchen aid mixer.
    We also may have the same food processor. Or at least ours also has suction cups on the bottom. I use it whenever i'm too lazy to chop up a lot of crap. Especially when i have to chop, like, a whole onion. God i hate chopping onions. My eyes ache for hours afterwards.

  11. I'm totally jealous that you have a Kitchenaid Mixer, let alone the food processor! I'm getting myself a processor though, I can't imagine canning for one more year without having one. There's something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way, sometimes, but man...
    I don't think I have a single appliance with suction cups on the bottom, btw. That's hard-core, lol.

    I am definitely a better writer than a story-teller, but I think I'd rather it be the other way around!

  12. I would like to think I am both :) I think I am better at writing than storytelling though simply because I can't always remember the story from the beginning to end. I actually started writing because I once told a fun story to some young students of mine and when they wanted me to retell the story a few days later, I had forgotten most of the details! :/ That was when I started writing my stories down.

  13. Hi :)

    I too would like to think I am both, and I probably suck at both, eh!!!

    I came over from the campaign and love your blog. I'm a new follower :)


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