A Lesson and an Early Valentine - for me

Someone invited me to tell a story for a special "business and the arts" Valentine breakfast. It will have to be short," she said. No more than five minutes. Now - that is a tough assignment from the outset

Then the big question - what story to tell - to a sophisticted audience who will not be expecting to start the day with a story. I asked advice of other tellers, read stories, and looked through stories I know. I settled on an Irish "sweetheart" and funny story.

Then they called me - "more VIPS have accepted than we expected - and they have to say a few words. Can you cut your story to a shorter time?"

"Don't worry about it." I said.

At first I thought about how I could "cut" the story - then I realized - if I did that I would ruin this particular story.

So the answer was - tell another story. Maybe that was the gift of the situation.

I know a story, The Maiden in Green, a folktale from China, that I love to tell. And I tell it often. In three minutes.

It was a risk. A folktale for breakfast?

Not only that - but I found myself the first speaker on the program.

I told it. You could not hear a pin drop - until they let out the "Ahhhhhh" at the surprise ending.

They loved it.

My gift of story to them turned into a Valentine for me.

How could you not love being a storyteller?

TIP: Respect the Story.
Trust the Story.