raconteur (RAH-kon-tour), noun
Someone who enjoys telling stories, does so frequently, and is good at it.
The Meghan Story. Need I say more?
Those who know me well and are intimately familiar with the glorious, nail-biting tales kindly dubbed “Meghan Stories,” I imagine would agree that such talent qualifies me as a raconteur. If anyone would like to further their vocabulary along with me in this word a day project, please feel free to address me from now on as Meghan, the raconteur. I will assist you with some examples for every day use…..
“My friend Meghan, the raconteur, is going to meet us later tonight. You’ll love her. She tells the best stories!”
“Have you met Meghan?”
“Do you mean Meghan, the raconteur? Of course I have! She once told me how to make a candle out of only crayons! Can you believe that? Incredible.”
In an effort to promote this change of name in daily conversation, you could also consider changing my last name in your phone from Robins to “the Raconteur.” The overuse will subliminally improve your memory of my stories.
The catch 22 of Meghan Stories is that they are slippery creatures that only exist in the unexpected vernacular of every day life. Standing on a sidewalk, passing someone in the grocery store, driving in the car to soccer or ultimate tournaments are all prime locations for a Meghan Story to be revealed. They cannot be planned or persuaded. They are verbal wonders that appear at the spur of the moment. Even I cannot predict when one may come out of hiding.
Interestingly, my written word and spoken word are two different breeds of rhetoric. Somehow, the route of speech from brain to mouth and brain to hands are two very different interstates. From brain to mouth, the road is rocky and rutted. It ices over in the winter and the heaviest chains and deepest roar of an engine cannot smooth it out. Words tumble out, falling into the ditch on either side of the road, never quite making it to the sentence. Meanwhile, my mouth rambles on, spewing and spurting out what will eventually and undoubtedly be a brilliant ending! At least my mouth trusts that my brain has sent along the tools to make it such.
But then, right at the very last moment when my mouth is stalling, waiting for that last perfect word to come barreling through, nothing comes. My mouth sends messages back to my brains saying, “come on, I really need that word now!” and my brian is sending messages urgently screaming, “I already sent it! I already sent it!” All the while my poor audience is looking at me wondering where they heck am I going with this? She’s a raconteur so there must be a point, but I can’t seem to follow much longer! Out of panic the brain sends a second word, the back-up word that might not have all the punch the first word had, but it’ll do. Whatever it takes to get us out of these weeds. The brain frantically throws papers and pens off its desk wondering, “where did I send that perfect word? I swear I sent it with the rest!”
The perfect word. There it is, lying in a ditch. He was meant to fill the spot at the end of my original sentence, but got bumped out to where all my brilliant words live. Crawling their way out of the crevices of my mind to trudge back down the road to my brain.
“Next time,” they say to each other, patting each other on their backs. “Next time we’ll hold on tighter. Next time we’ll make it all the way to the sentence and we’ll make it shine!”
“Sure Dalliance, of course we will.” Says Indignation, which I really never can seem to fit anywhere.
That’s the problem with the good words, they are used so infrequently their grip becomes loose, weakened over time that they fall off the road from my brain to my mouth. The overused words, the ones I wish I could bump off my vocabulary more often than not have arms like Sylvester Stallone and the persistence to match. I’m not always up for a fight like that.
There is another road. The road that makes me want to drive forever and then more. Like Highway 1 on the coast of California. Every turn is thrilling and every view is inspiring. I never want to get off that road. This is the road from my brain to my hands. The speed of thought that escapes from my brain transforms into smooth sentences that my mouth may never experience. Before my hands can comprehend what they are writing, my brain has swung around a new turn, revealing a new view, a new idea that inspires me and fills me with wonder and the urge to continue on. So I write and I write. And it doesn’t matter what comes out because my hands have given themselves fully to the trustworthiness of my brain. My hands are the tools with which my brain can flow in one stream, down one road, without pothole or interruption. Just thoughts speeding along.
My hands nor my brain know where this road leads or how many detours I will undoubtedly take, but it is absolutely the best shot we have at getting my thoughts out. For this very reason, I try my hardest to stay on this smoothly, always paved road. The worst case is that the mountain has eaten a little of the pavement away, but I can swerve around the diminishing sides. My hands are agile enough to do so. Yes, I suppose for me and my brain it will be the written road that’s slightly faster, possibly better maintained that will lead us to successfully becoming a proper raconteur.