Storytelling Lights My Fire...


When I interviewed Jack (The Barefoot Yacht Club) for the Choose Wisely project, I knew his time was limited and so did he. Even so, I thought I would see him again before he died. In fact, I had plans to visit after my kids went back to school on September 7th.  Sadly, he passed away over Labor Day weekend so my next visit was to his memorial instead. It is surprising how attached I became to Jack considering the short time I knew him.  I felt cheated because I wanted to learn so much more about him.

When I walked into his memorial, which was held in a room that looked out on the location of The Barefoot Yacht Club, his children had a large portrait of him with this quote beneath it: “The most important thing is story-telling. It’s as singular and old fashioned as that.” His memorial (like his life) focused on Jack’s stories and his ability to coax a story out of anyone. He always said, “No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, we all have a story; and they’re all interesting.”

A woman got up to say a few words after the formal service and her comments made me realize once again why the Choose Wisely! project is so important. She spoke about what she learned from Jack – “that all our stories matter and most people are just waiting for someone to ask. Jack started something important here that I think we should continue.” She was referring to personally connecting with others by sharing your own stories and seeking out others. Jack would have been proud.

On the cover of the pamphlet they gave out was the following quote, which captured the essence of Jack, “Storytelling is what lights my fire.” Amen to that. It is so clear to me now why I was led to Jack for my first story. He understood the power of our stories and recognized them as the currency of life. But more importantly, he needed someone to hear his story before it died with him.

So, what are you waiting for? Maybe you’ve got a story to tell, or maybe you’ve just been called to listen to someone else’s. Maybe both. It’s your choice.