“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” George Burns
There are several signs around town that amuse me. This one is quite honest. Basically, if you want coffee, they have it, but it’s not their specialty.
Sometimes I like honesty. I’ve found it interesting to listen to stories told by different people. When I was about 30, a friend of mine died, and his wife, a great story-teller, began to give me the details. Each time she told the story, it was different. I found myself completely frustrated, because she was still working out how to tell the story in the best light, and I wanted the real facts of how my friend died.
Stories, though believed to be true by the teller, are usually told in one of these ways.
1. An Honest Story – I’m not a great story-teller, probably because I tell them as true to the fact as possible. Facts are important to me, and I suppose I don’t like hearing a story that leaves me wondering about its truth. Inspirational true stories, like the story of Helen Keller, tend to motivate me.
2. An Embellished Story – The great story-tellers tend to stretch the truth. For some, it’s not that they mean to stretch the truth, it’s just that if the story keeps to the heart of the truth, the details don’t matter to them. That’s fine for me, as long as I know it’s embellished–and I usually do. I’m closely related to a great story-teller, and it works for me when I know how to separate my emotions from the story. When I listen to these kinds of stories, I try to think about the purpose. Often the story-teller wants to play on our emotions in order to help us see our need for change. If these stories help us to make needed changes, I can agree they are needed “truth” in our lives.
3. An Honestly Detailed Story – Some people cannot tell stories because they give so many details that they have forgotten the story part. In essence, we never hear the meaningful part of the story because we lost interest when the story-teller and the spouse got into an argument about a detail. Yet there are times, like when someone dies, that the correctly presented details are very important. In these cases, the more honestly detailed the story, the more it is appreciated.
So what kind of honesty will it be? I guess it’s a matter of mood or need. If we want to hear a heart warming story, we’ll choose a different kind of person than if we’ve been diagnosed with a dreaded disease. Children instinctively know who to go to for fun and who to go to for truth. Many stories seem to have truth, but the kind of truth we need might change based on our situation.
What kind of honest story do you tell?