Monday, July 17, 2023

I Am a Storyteller

I am a storyteller.

I have been a storyteller since I was 7. 

I published my first short story when I was 15. 

Since then I’ve written a total of 102 novels, short stories, screenplays, and stage plays and 157 poems. 

I have 42 projects currently planned over the next five years (half of these are already in development).

I have had some form of a day job since I was 13, most of which were full time positions for the last three decades. 

I have earned two college degrees, including a masters, both while working up to three jobs. 

I have also been an arts educator for 18 years. 

I do not make a living as a storyteller. 

I do not make enough money as a storyteller to support myself and my family. 

I am a storyteller. 

I am constantly struggling to find ways to fit storytelling into my schedule, my life, my day - sometimes only in 15 minute sessions/marathons. Sometimes late at night. And often early in the morning. 

The strikes that are happening right now in the entertainment industry are addressing the value that storytellers bring to our collective culture. 

I often wonder how much storytellers are valued. 

Is there still a place for us in this crowded, loud room where the books seem to keep disappearing? Or getting burned. 

Does anyone want stories anymore? 

The truth?

I am a storyteller. 

I can only shout so loud. 

For many of us, storytelling is not only the very thing we love most to do, it is also a gift bestowed upon us that compels us to use our imaginations to bring truth to light, give spoken words to characters you can relate to, and speak to the things that are difficult for most to say. 

I am a storyteller because I believe there is immense power in the written and spoken word. Because I want to tell the stories I needed to read and see when I was a young person. Because I believe art and culture are supposed to challenge us, change us, comfort us, and ultimately define us.

I am a storyteller.

David-Matthew Barnes

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