The Storyteller (A Non-Fiction Essay)
One Tuesday night, my dad was coming home late from work and my mom decided that we would stay up and watch something until he came in. It was not the first time that she and I had waited for him, but it was the first time that we decided to have ourselves a little girl’s night in. I forget how old I was, but it could not have been more than seven or eight, just old enough tobelieve in fairy tales. We ordered ourselves some pizza, sat down on our big comfortable couch, curled up with some blankets and turned on HBO. To our surprise, there was not a movie on, but a show called The Storyteller. This show was about a scraggily looking man (played by John Hurt) telling, as you may have guessed, fairy tales.
I had always been interested in stuff like fairy tales and monsters (I was a weird child), but this took my obsession to a new level. The program itself was dark and macabre, and I remember sitting in the living room without the light on being utterly spellbound, as the story unfolded in front of me. This show got in my head, and I remember thinking to myself, Wow, I want to write stuff like this when I grow up. The unconventional eeriness of this “children’s show” is the thing that drew me in completely, and after a long eight-hour day at school and three hours of homework, it provided a great escape from reality. For one hour, I was in a different world filled with witches, warlocks, dragons, princes and princesses, all the things that were not in my everyday life and I loved every second of it. Now that I think about it, I realize that this show provided me fuel for the twisted fire that has become my thoughts and dreams.
The experience of the show is what I remember the most, that alone time with my mom in the solitude of our creepy living room sitting in the dark. Watching that show was the first time that my mother and I had something in common. Something that we could sit down on the couch, eat our pizza and watch without talking or (in my case) getting into trouble. It was the one thing that, from the moment we turned it on, everything around us melted away into the unlit room. Our whole world was that show and nothing else existed. The memory of the glowing light of the television and the warmth of the blanket wrapped around my shoulders, gives me comfort even now as I think about it.
From then on, we would watch the show religiously. Every Tuesday night, we would order our pizza, snuggle in and see the strange stories unfold. It never mattered whether my dad was coming home late or not, we would watch it. It never bothered us if it was a re-run or when they changed the line up and it came on later. Even when they changed the theme and made it about Greek mythology, we still could not get enough. It is rare that you find something that you can watch until dooms day, and The Storyteller was that kind of show.
Years later when I went to go see the first Harry Potter in the movie theater, I had the shock of my life when I saw the storyteller himself (John Hurt) playing the wizard who sold Harry his first wand. All of a sudden, the flash backs of the times with my mom on the couch and our girl’s nights in came into my mind, and it took me a good fifteen minutes to get back into the movie. I could not believe that all those years later a childhood television show would have such an impact that it would pull me out of one fantasy and into the memory of another. It ruined the movie for me, because I could not keep my mind on the film. All I could think about were the stories and the fantasies of that other world that made my imagination sore so long ago.
Now that I am older, I can see that this early obsession with The Storyteller has opened my mind up to new obsessions. Instead of princes and princesses, it is now vampires and werewolves (I’m still weird). However, without that show opening doors in my mind, I would not have decided to try my hand at writing, and would not be as creative as I am today. This show has stayed with me, and it has let me see that the imagination can do anything. I guess I can thank my mother for having the idea of a girl’s night in, because without it I would have never known that stories could make such a difference in my life.
Essay By: Laura Del (a.k.a. The Fiction Writer)