This evening I attended a performance of An Evening of Storytelling with Garrison Keillor. I was so moved by his masterful weave of the yarn. He makes his stories come alive by arresting our interest – giving more detail than one would think necessary, yet it is the details that electrify the tales. “We are more alike than we think…and certainly more than we try not to be.”
Before a word was even spoken, upon entering the stage, he hummed a note and beaconed us to follow. He then led us in a rendition of My Country ‘tis of Thee, followed by a number of other equally familiar songs. He spoke of important moments in life that he wanted to write down. Moments that, as they were happening, he knew were of significance and that he would want to remember and understand.
Mr. Keillor connected with us by sharing his life experiences, proving that we all relate with our own intimate stories that are just as private as the ones he so boldly shared with us. He talked of sin, death, love, and sex. Intimate confessions of the frailty of human beings. He empowered us. He inspired unity, proving that strangers can come into a dark room together and sing songs that everyone knows the words to.
The storyteller brought it all back in the end, after two and a half hours without a break in the meaningful, poignant, and hilariously exaggerated tangents that all somehow made sense. He arrived back to the notion that though we are divided, especially in today’s political climate, it is all only an illusion. We all have these incredibly human experiences that we all share.
The evening ended with a humming of My Country ‘tis of Thee. It had come full circle. We had arrived safely back down to the ground after the incredible journey. Garrison Keillor is an empowered communicator, because he empowers his listeners.