“Tell me a story,” is older than language itself. Think of cave painting, as an example, and older still, pantomiming which has morphed into what we experience as theatre today, and dance is certainly one of the oldest forms of storytelling. In whatever form, however, we humans love stories. They delight us as children, amuse and stir our emotions as adults, and comfort us in our advancing age. Everything needs a story, faith, science, love, all need a story for people to embrace them, to identify with them, and find then credible. Stories also have power, the power to bring hope where there is none, strengthen character when it is challenged, give strength when tragedy strikes. They have the power to change lives. So it should be no surprise then that storytelling is common to every known culture. They reflect the way our minds work. With stories we corral patterns of meaning that are recognized by others—patterns that open pathways to communal interaction between the teller and the listener; the original-mind meld, if you will. Both teller and listener become part of the story.
This is especially true during the holiday season. It is through stories that we connect with each other, celebrate life together, and make sense of our world.
On this holiday edition of Delmarva Today: Writers Edition host Harold Wilson presents three stories that celebrate the strange foibles and contradictions of human life. Wilson’s guests are Mike Murphy and Judy Hearn who read the first two stories. Both are members of The Community Players of Salisbury. Mike Murphy, an Emergency Medical Services Doctor in Salisbury, will read “Sekhmet,” the story of an older man whose deceased wife has taken up residence in his mind. It was written by your host. Judy Hearn, a retired teacher in Salisbury, reads “Lamb to the Slaughter,” written by Roald Dahl. This story was featured in the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in April, 1958. The program concludes with Wilson reading “A Visit from Saint Nicholas (in the Hemingway Manner)” written by James Thurber as a satire on the familiar “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”
It’s interesting to note that in 1927 Hemingway had already published The Sun Also Rises (which some consider to be his greatest novel) as well as a number of other novels and short stories. The new style Hemingway was developing; hard-boiled, short sentences, direct, understated, and exhibiting no sentimentality at all, was the talk of the literary world at the time. Not sure how well it translates “T’was The Night Before Christmas” however.
Listen in to the excellent presentation of these three stories – CLICK TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE