Long Story Short

Margot Leitman | Nonfiction, 2015

290 pages

four-hearts

I haven’t had this much fun reading a book since Me Talk Pretty One Day.  I don’t know how it ended up in my hands.  It simply appeared near the end of the list of 20 books I put together during quarantine, when I couldn’t access my favorite hangout in town, the Eastside branch of the library.

But there it was, on my “to read” pile, and I wondered why I wanted to read this book about effective storytelling.  I didn’t fit any of the criteria she lists on page xxvii (why do authors label pages “xxvii”?  Doesn't life begin on page 1?) for who should read this book.  It is for people who make business presentations; are going on job interviews; want to tell stories onstage; are preparing to make a speech for a wedding or funeral; or who are dating. “Dating?” I asked with incredulity.  “What does this book have to do with dating?”  Then I realized that this book was going to help address one of my deeply held secrets about myself.  I am boring.

Be prepared to read the short book with pen and paper in hand.  There are many, many prompts, from ones I could easily answer ( _____ makes me cry.   _____ makes me so angry) to real mind-benders like “Tell a story about a time I was proven wrong.”  Wrong???

You will learn a lot about yourself, maybe create a juicy story, and have fun.  Leitman is decidedly entertaining. But be careful when buying or requesting this book.  There is a book with the same title that is ten-minute gospel stories for sharing with your children.  Unless of course, that actually is the story you want to tell.  “The time I bought a book that was the complete opposite of what I was looking for.”

p.s.  I couldn’t help but think of many of my friends as I read this book.  Leslie and Carol, who are simply enjoying writing.  Charlene, who is working on her memoir.  Jan, who revels in the form of 50-word stories.  Bev, who writes stories and plays.  And, above all, Joanne, who helps people tell their stories for a living.  (Joanne ... this is an essential book for you!  Yes, I will take my 45% cut.)

Have fun.  Create, write, and have lots of fun.

Time to do kitty litter now.  "Did I ever tell you about the time I was cleaning kitty litter and ....."

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