The 14 Essential Differences Between Writers and Storytellers

Writers embrace the lost art of using a typewriter, but have now morphed into the age of computers and file storage in the cloud.  Storytellers have recently evolved out of the practice of flinging their own feces at cave walls and smearing it about with a dull stick.

Writers speak in low, thoughtful tones, and everyone gathers around them at parties as they spontaneously leap into a wine-heightened progression of playful prose and insightful social commentary.  Storytellers are generally at the same party, twitching in a closet as they fumble about with an over-willing partner, or, more often, by themselves.

Writers concern themselves with things like “form” and “vocabulary” and “grammar”.  Storytellers concern themselves with wondering why writers are such total twats.

Writers create impossible tangles of prose that often result in them having death sentences pronounced upon them by enraged religious sects based on a three-word phrase that they intended to mean nothing more than “he likes the colour blue”.  Storytellers write about glowing vampires embroiled in love triangles with werewolves.  I’m not kidding.  They really do.

Writers love to portray long sex scenes that last at least 4 or 5 pages, or far longer than sex lasts in real life.  Storytellers generally indicate that the new couple either fucks all the time or desperately wants to fuck, and leaves it at that.

Writers use long words, things like “lugubrious”, “promiscuous”, “symposia” (I LOVE symposia; a free non-existent book to the first person who gets this reference), “salacious”, and often mix in the technical names of flowers and trees into their expansive prose.  Storytellers smoke dope, have odd dreams, forget them when they sober up, and settle for writing mash-ups ie. ‘boy that cat is really ugly, but if it suddenly went over to that fire hydrant and lifted a leg, then chased a postal service worker down the road, well, there, then we have something…’

Writers write blogs and express themselves as it relates to real-life events; if a writers sees a bird in a park, that’s a poem; if a writer flatulates in the forest, that’s a short story; if a writer realizes that their great-great-great grandfather on their mother’s side was adopted by an Irishman, that’s a novel.  Storytellers have no idea that the real world actually exists, are eschewed (note: this is a WRITERLY word) by their family, are still catching up on current events from the glowing era of Ronald Reagan, and are often found in places that smell faintly of sewage and broken dreams.

Writers drink red wine in the sunshine while straightening their white clothes as the harpist plucks a few chords.  Storytellers inhale.  They always inhale.

Writers research all the time and try very hard to pretend in their writing that they didn’t research at all.  Storytellers have never visited a library, do not know about the newfangled internet invention, and still get their porn in magazine format.

Writers write all the time about small villages in rural Newfoundland circa 1619, and the repressed people who make their home there (the date and place can change but it’s the same story); in the narrative, a young girl wins out over the boundaries that people have placed on her by demonstrating a massive spark of creativity and modern attitude, but still ends up dying of typhus, thus invalidating everything that came before and ending the story on a total downer.  Storytellers believe that a period piece is a half-formed punctuation mark.

Writers have no problem spending three paragraphs describing the mole on the whale’s ass or the icicle hanging from the Russian Commander’s window or the mountain that lies before the hobbit’s best friend.  Storytellers aren’t fully sure what paragraphs are, couldn’t describe the colour of their own eyes, and work under the insane assumption that their readers actually possibly might have imaginations all their own.

Writers who begin as writers become poor and forgotten.  Storytellers who successfully realize that people don’t need endless prose to make the story work turn into commercial fiction giants that, once successful, have enough clout and money to finally morph into writers who don’t care if their novels reach 1000+ pages because, you know, by then they’re better than the rest of us.

Writers extol the virtues of Proust and Tolstoy ie. ‘in the winter of the long discontent, Geraldine Ducharme discovered the most lowly form of anal wart on her hefty posterior, and determined that she would visit the delightful plumber Mr. Onapopsicle for advice on how it should most properly and delicately be removed.  It would prove for Geraldine to be a most wondrous journey, and the first step on her way to womanhood itself’.  The most elevated hero of storytellers everywhere is Dr. Seuss ie. ‘the cat crapped on the door mat; why did that cat crap on the door mat? Because I fed it lacquer and poor Sam… poor Sam sat on the door mat where the cat crapped.’

Writers wish they could be storytellers.  Storytellers wish they could be writers.  And when that all crashes together in one person, you get something very special.  Sprinkle in some drugs and childhood trauma, and you’ve got something for the ages.

*in honour of my friend Doc (http://realityenchanted.wordpress.com/), who bought up the question of what the difference really is.

392 thoughts on “The 14 Essential Differences Between Writers and Storytellers

  1. Oh, my God. You have totally inspired me this morning. Each time I think you have topped yourself (feel free to twist that into a deliciously naughty reference if you must), you go somewhere unexpected and delightful, you product of the best of both worlds. I would call you both. There you go, Lewin, you are a bi. Reblogging this.

  2. I must say…will say…I love this. At first, I told myself “I’m a storyteller”. Then I told myself “I’m a writer”. Now I tell myself…I’m something in between…or better yet, a little of both…or better still…who give a rat’s ass because I do it for me alone. But you my friend are straddling the proverbial horse…and where your balls meet the backbone is where the best of you sits. BTW…a certain poetess needs to withdraw from your ‘free non-existant book’ challenge…for she surely will get the symposia referrence…xo SB

  3. Hilarious, and so true. You do need a combination of the two, so you don’t get either something so hoity toity that no one would read it (I’m sorry, I hate Lord of the Rings. Feel free to hate on me now.) or so inane that you’d get more from eating the pages than you would from reading them (ie Twilight, 50 Shades, etc).

  4. Of all issues surrounding this piece, I’d like to ask: I know you got an idea to write this from something we discussed long ago -around when you wrote about Rod Bayne -but, why exactly have you written it THIS way? What really did you hope to drive Of all issues surrounding this piece, I’d like to ask: I know you got an idea to write this from something we discussed long ago -around when you wrote about Rod Bayne -but, why exactly have you written it THIS way? What really did you hope to drive Of all issues surrounding this piece, I’d like to ask: I know you got an idea to write this from something we discussed long ago -around when you wrote about Rod Bayne -but, why exactly have you written it THIS way? What really did you hope to drive Of all issues surrounding this piece, I’d like to ask: I know you got an idea to write this from something we discussed long ago -around when you wrote about Rod Bayne -but, why exactly have you written it THIS way? What really did you hope to drive at???

    • Just having fun Doc. I think there is a difference between writers and storytellers, but I don’t think knowing the difference is that important. You are what you are, ultimately. I do have an interest in how people approach writing – from the story or from the writing itself. I haven’t figured it out, so I thought I’d have some fun.

      • Wow! Over 250 comments…all on a freestyle from Primate Lewin. Knew he had a streak!
        Like your freestyles Trent. It appears your more enjoyable pieces are the “mindless” thoughts. Let the fun go on then. (Later he’ll write on how unknown he is on wordpress!)

        • I have you to thank Doc, you gave me the idea. Had no idea how it would come out or how it would be addressed, but that’s the beauty of the thing isn’t it. I have to say, I’m not used to this kind of attention, but it’s been pretty cool and have met a bunch of interesting people.

  5. Thank you, Susan, for reblogging this gem so that I could find it! Trent… oh, Trent… thank you SO very much for the laughter and joy from reading this! I am hooked! And thank you especially for the final paragraph… there is hope for me yet!

  6. Let me add my voice to those singing your praises. Loved this, but I have to admit that I had to stop at the part where you disclosed that sex doesn’t last for four or five pages. I’m confused now. Ah, maybe I should go back and read the rest.

    • Midget, I had hoped that a passive reference to a hobbit would have stirred you to action on your long-awaited follow-up to hobbits versus lightsabres. But I am glad you liked this, and as for the sex part… you are better man than I, sir. But I already knew that.

  7. oh well, I must admit I go both ways….hahaha never thought I’d EVER say that out loud! and my other guess is you been watchin way too much futurama!! haha that’s why I call this world we type in the blogorama….they are SO similar! AND I’m sure there’s a symposium on it right now somewhere … only I can’t remember cause I do inhale! lmaorotf…

    • Hiya segmation. You mean Doc of course, yes he is one of my favorites on WordPress, mostly because he is slightly insane and hangs out with an imaginary monkey that taunts and mocks him as he tries to write something of value. Plus he’s a good writer and he tells stories, but I think he is a better writer than storyteller right now with talents in each… unfortunately, he chooses to squander himself on that literary plague known as poetry…

  8. The Dr. Seuss reference really took me by surprise and a few people gave me some strange looks while I was laughing at my tablet! I do believe I shall have to subscribe to you, good sir! I’m really not sure whether I am a writer or a storyteller, but I have all the time in the world to find out! Thanks for a good read.

    • My absolute pleasure… I have to tell you, I wish I were Dr. Seuss at times. I have kids who gobble him up, and I find him influencing my writing all the time. It gets a bit confusing at times, but is always fun.

  9. I have a degree in journalism and my friends always ask me what the difference between journalistic writing and creative writing is and why creative writing only spews from my body when I’m intoxicated.

    I’m directing them to this commentary for the answer. Gave me a good laugh and is spot-on.

  10. Thank you so much, darling, for delightfully detailing the delicate dichotomy of form vs substance. I’ll often wander into one territory or the other and realize too late that I’ve lost the plot while chasing a particular passing phrase, or else concoct a plot so wet and steamy, only to realize that the prose is dry.
    Your prose was witty and indelicate — and one can never be too indelicate, so don’t fret any offense you fear you’ll receive.
    I’ve enjoyed your work, I do hope you’ll drop by mind sometime.

  11. Interesting… While everyone else was deciding if they were writers or storytellers, I was wondering which I preferred to read. I think when I was younger, I preferred good writing, but as I grew up and had less time, I had to settle with mindless storytelling fluff to help me escape the reality of life. Your post makes me want to get back into reading writing.

  12. Nice, love the funny comparisons, but mostly the conclusion. Its very hard to integrate these two worlds, there seems to be unspoken rules prohibiting the mingling between the two. Perhaps we prefer the feeling of competency and belonging that comes from clearly establishing membership in one camp over the other.

  13. Hunh. The only difference I discern is that an oral tradition storyteller doesn’t have to spell what he communicates. Other than that, the relating of stories is pretty much the same the world over: it either moves the recipient or it does not. Variety works here, judgement not so much.

    • I dunno, I studied with a very wise gentleman who taught creative writing that fairly lauded the battle lines between the two camps. He constantly told me that I was trying to be a writer when in reality I wanted to be a storyteller. I have been mulling that distinction, if there is one, over for quite some time. To set the record straight, I respect and admire both, and feel empowered to make fun of them all (which is all this post is).

  14. This kind of makes the oral storytelling tradition seem like dredge when it’s actually one of the richest forms of story, sometimes (especially when you take in the practice as a whole) even more in depth than writing can be. I think you need to be careful when you use “writer” vs. “storyteller” as a dichotomy because it really is not.

    The paragraph about writers liking Proust and storytellers being like Dr. Seuss is totally asinine. This is apples and oranges: different audiences, different intentions, different results. This is the paragraph that made me realize how this article was basically just a rant about recognition and, to be honest, being pretentious. If you think Proust is a better writer/storyteller/author/person than Dr. Seuss, you have a large portion of your head stuck up your ass. If you think the quality of prose is based on long words or elaborate syntax, think again. Yes, many books are terribly written, just as many stories are horribly told, but you need to reevaluate how you’re setting up the pyramid of quality.

    • You sir, are clearly a twat. I thank you for your words but exercise my judgement in the face of your overly-serious heavy-handed criticism and response to a post that is probably fairly clearly meant to be funny… I am sorry that you did not see it as such, but I was really hoping that a twat would show up and be terribly offended by this light little piece of nonsense, and here you are. The only one thus far – I congratulate you, laud you, hold you high even as I forget you.

      But seriously, if you wish to talk about writing and storytelling in a serious vein, perhaps you can look at one of my fiction writing pieces and comment on the merits or not of the quality (or not) that you find there (or not). I invite you sir to read on, and I will do the same for you if it suits you my friend.

  15. Absolutely astounding. I have never read your blog before, I found it on Freshly Pressed and have to say it’s one of my favorite pieces of writing. Humorous, witty and thought provoking. Thanks for what you do. (:

    • Why thanks so much for those kind words, honestly this isn’t my usual writing style, I usually write slightly bent fiction. But every now and then it feels good to reflect on what it is I do and try to poke fun at myself (and others). All in good fun.

    • It’s all good, the labels aren’t really all that important except when using them as convenient scapegoats for vaguely sardonic poking and prodding. Like this post for example.

  16. The humor involved with this post will continue to make me smile for weeks. What frightens me is how true this is involving today’s writing (Twilight…. “Cough”). Good post. Thank you for my for my delightful and witty morning coffee read.

      • Two factors that are part of I am sure a even more interesting individual. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.
        In regards to twilight, its spinoff’s and other related items, I am unsure how to look at a generation that uses books of “Twilight” quality writing as a standard for modern day literature. It is no wonder quality reading is more difficult to come by. I have noticed the same with photography and coffee. Appreciated thank you’s to society’s decreasing standards(Pause while sarcastic humor sinks in).

        • Yeah, but I find that some of the best writing occurs in places like these by people who aren’t famous but are heartfelt. And coffee… funny the wonderful places you find the best stuff. It’s getting harder to find, I know. The quality is still out there, perhaps better than ever but not more popular certainly.

          • I agree with that. Heartfelt, willing to be adventurous, and pushing the boundaries of what has been done before.
            A good roast of coffee is extremely difficult to come by.
            Strange when there is a Starbucks on every corner.
            …. I work at Starbucks ….
            Needless to say, I will drive a long distance for good coffee.
            -Cheers-

  17. haha nice one had to laugh out couple of times 🙂
    tried to put me on one of your sides and I end up in the middle.. I could talk and talk (bout newfoundland too!) while both inhale/exhaling, but same amount might come out if u give me pen and paper..
    I try see the difference and my guess is time, although it don’t completely cover it.. storyteller is more impulsive, also that the point to a good story is not the truth but that it’s entertaining! Writers must be genuine, loyal and correct? Also I think storytellers are impulsive people whereas writers are the opposite?
    Hope I get to write my bioraphy out one day, according to you it is possible 🙂

    • Everything is possible. I think the labels themselves are funny, the ideas they convey really interesting, but honestly I have no idea where I fit and I bet most people don’t either. But I also think we compose out of some deeper need than attaining a label anyway. Here’s to writing! I do agree with you about impulsive storytelling. And I look forward to your bio.

  18. I thought this piece was well written. I saw a poet the other day, she is still very poor, but her presence was endearing. I will come back and read this again
    Thanks

  19. Damn. I knew there was a good reason for smoking dope AND inhaling. After the 3rd essential difference I was laughing too hard to bother counting the other differences. Does the fact that I was counting lift me into the twatesphere?

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    • Glad it gave you a laugh. Best of wishes with your studies. I’m a loose-hand writer at best, usually I write fiction and you can find some pieces on my blog. Wish I had more time to devote to creative writing.

  21. I don’t laugh out loud a lot while reading. I don’t laugh easily at all. I laughed out loud throughout most of this, and loved that behind the humor was a very obvious command of the written word. You are a talented writer. I look forward to more.

    • Well thank you, that is a high compliment. I have to tell you that I seldom write posts like this one, usually I write fiction and that’s really what I love to do. Anyway, I’m glad you laughed – that is awesome.

  22. Pingback: What Makes a Writer? | Artistry

  23. I’ve always considered myself a storyteller who wished that they were a writer. After reading your blog I thought, “Yeah that pretty much sums me up.” Except the part about the vampires. I abhor anything to do with sparkly vampires.

    • You and me both. Sparkly vampires are the equivalent of soiled toilet paper. I’d like to be a storyteller I think, but I do have a fascination with how words are used and often get trapped arranging and rearranging them (sometimes to the detriment of the story). I have some posts of fiction on my blog that are like that, and others that are straight-forward story. Seems I vary between the poles and don’t find great compromises.

  24. Awesome post and funny too – thanks! I’m on the side of the storyteller I think because I can’t spell, my grammar is hellish and my vocabulary just about stretches beyond swear words… but as long as you’re having a bit of fun I suppose it don’t matter!

    • And that’s all that matters at the end of the day, that you’re having fun. The labels become unimportant as long as the fun is always there. By the way, your grammar and vocab seem perfectly fine…

  25. Hell, never can work out who I am, soldier, photographer, artist, activist or a writer. Now you have sub-divided my confusion just a wee bit more! Writer, storyteller, both? Eish!
    Great article, thank you.

    • Sorry for adding to the confusion… but all told, sounds like you were wrestling with multiple identities long before I showed up… interesting set of background that you have there, I will have to follow up and read your blog. You don’t see that particular combination of identities very often.

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  27. Based on my grammar alone I must be a story teller. But, I drink beer, I don’t smoke, and I love the library.

    • You may want to consider that you are either a confused storyteller or a closet writer… or both. I love libraries too. But please don’t tell anyone, it would ruin my street cred.

  28. If you write, you are a writer.
    I even wonder, if writer should not be replaced by AUTHOR in the blog above – the AUTHOR is the authority, the famous, the unfailable who stands above criticism, isn’t she/or he/?

    The writer is the one who works, who struggles, who even doubts,who scribbles in a notebook or types in one in a café – no such thing in an AUTHOR. He uses an expensive pen, has a dedicated secretary who turns his words into readable form, he, the master of (suspense, crime, comedy, chose what you prefer) gets every sentence right at the (according to Hemingway) “shitty first draft”. Not so a writer. He always feels the shortcomings of his tries, to press his unshaped thoughts into the mould of words.
    A story teller on the other hand, or this may even be one of the feet, does not mind- if his first try at a sentence is not right – so what, he will just repeat it, with a more telling face this time.
    *oh, and NO – I do not mean any of this serious, but I am german, my ability in humour is measured in mili-humour-units, forgive me, if I sound dead serious*

    • Nope you sound perfectly rationale and vaguely sarcastic (which I like). I don’t think I was really trying to describe an author per se. I was more thinking of the difference between people who carefully carefully arrange their words compared to those who really delve into the story and plot and go from there. At the end of the day, my post was really not meant to be anything than funny… I don’t really believe a word of it, haven’t really met people who truly embody either stereotype, but thought it would be fun to paint those stereotypes nevertheless.

      • ” I was more thinking of the difference between people who carefully carefully arrange their words compared to those who really delve into the story and plot and go from there. ”
        The first group sounds like the ones giving the final touches to a story that does not even exist yet, the second I’d call writers – as they are writing.

  29. I don’t know, I used to love libraries, but I have not been in one in years, and as someone else mentioned earlier, I think I have a story teller’s grammar. I’m confused. Your observation that a 4 or 5 page sex scene lasts longer than sex in real life still has me chuckling. I loved this post.

  30. you’re post (brilliant ofcourse) has left me more confused and more dazed. am definitely not a writer and don’t think am a story-teller either. when am in my senses, i dont think am wither of them or somewhat of either of them or a mix of both of them. but i know, i write (or do i rant, or scribble, or pour) – i really don’t know.
    but there is food for thought.
    lovely pointers. congratulations on being freshly pressed.

  31. “Writers wish they could be storytellers. Storytellers wish they could be writers. And when that all crashes together in one person, you get something very special. Sprinkle in some drugs and childhood trauma, and you’ve got something for the ages.”

    🙂

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  33. Love this post, not sure which I am though. As a former journalist now writing fiction I guess I fall somewhere in the middle, someone who writes while thinking about words but who loves the rush of getting the story out. The first draft of my first novel came out at 140,000 words – the journalist in me said I’d overwritten, the storyteller in me said ‘go for it’.

    • Yeah you got to go for it, finish your story and let the storyteller speak, then put on the writer’s hat and go back and edit edit edit. I actually don’t have a clue how to edit, but think I’m improving. What is your novel about?

      • Identity. The protagonist thinks she knows who she is, but finds out she’s adopted and her family is full of lies. From then on it’s a detective story as she tries to uncover the truth. Do we get our identity from our genes, or from our life experiences?

  34. First I nod, then I shake, then nod, then nod, then shake. I am both and still giving off chuckles. Scrolling up to read it again, lol.

  35. I considered laughing out loud at this post, I weighed the pros and cons, and settled on a smile with a silent sort of “hee” laugh at various times as I was reading. This was certainly one of the most satisfyingly adequate posts I’ve read in a while, Lewin. I will give you one or two kudos for it.

    May I also add this other difference: Writers wear things like pretentious tweed jackets, button-down shirts, etc., and have a basic grasp of grooming. Storytellers have oddly sculpted facial hair, questionable hygiene, and wear thrift store clothes because they’re “wacky.”

    • Well Weebles, I am glad that I have had a moderate impact on your ability to laugh. Your perfectly average response gave me a fleeting moment of joy, sort of.

      And I thank you for your final observation, with which I heartily agree.

  36. Having just recently starting to express myself and my opinions I still do not classify myself as a writer or a storyteller. But I have to say that this article has opened my eyes a little more about the world of writing. Someday I aspire be be successful in either one of these groups. Thanks!

  37. HIlarious, quite plausible, and thought-provoking (at least for those who care, among which I am not sure whether I can count myself, to ascertain one’s own true literary nature).
    All in all, I’ll go for it, as I have seen myself more like a writer in here. Alas, no wine in the sunlight, and no, no white clothes.
    Congrats on being FPed! Well deserved 😉

    Whoever cares to come have a peek, I keep my text-only blog (English, Spanish, a dab of Portuguese).

    • Thanks much. Our literary nature is like our human nature, probably undefinable and ultimately unimportant. Unless of course you do have anal warts, then you really want to know where you stand (and especially where you sit).

  38. My favourite part: “Storytellers believe that a period piece is a half-formed punctuation mark.” Made me think of what a storyteller would make of a ‘bracket’.
    I am defo. a mixture of the two, BUT no mention of any love triangles and the like in my book, so a difficult one to judge.
    Well done on being FP and ‘writing’ as a great ‘storyteller’ 😉

    • Dear Dr. Fucknuts, I would like you to know that I will continue to communicate with you even though I have been freshly pressed and the like. However, you will have to bow whenever you are in my virtual presence.

      Seriously though Audra, all this attention is pretty odd. I suddenly feel the need to completely sabotage all of this.

  39. I love this Trent. My favorite line :Storytellers concern themselves with wondering why writers are such total twats.
    Now tell me where does Dr. Seuss fit in with all of this??
    Dr. Fucknuts needs to know.

    • Dear Dr. Fucknuts, we meet again. And you must know that one Susan Daniels insisted that I include the word “twat”; previously, it had been written “twit”, but Susan was dead on right.

      I think Dr. Seuss is an exceptional storyteller, one who uses an economy of words while translating what are clearly drug-induced dreams into paper.

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  41. Thank you Trent for making me laugh today, I do actually laugh every day (or try to) but it is nice to find a new source for mirth beyond the antics of my children.
    Seeing this post in the freshly pressed section I went ahead and had a read. I enjoyed your sardonic take on things so followed on with 10 things I have learned about blogging. Admittedly these are the only 2 of your posts I have read thus far however I couldn’t help but notice a common thread – you mention anal warts in both!
    I am not sure if this is a common theme for you but I would suggest, if it is, that your doctor might be able to prescribe a cream for that (or maybe a tablet as this seems to have gone on for a while – September to April at least). I probably wouldn’t have actually noticed this if it weren’t for the conversation I had with my husband just last night about how to get more views on my own, brand new, blog. He suggested I tag every post with the word anal. While I have no doubt I would gain a considerable number of views that way I am not convinced the type of people who would search for that in a blog site are exactly the audience I am writing for.
    Anyway thanks again, I will be following your future posts with interest.

    • You know, I never noticed that… Perhaps I should consult a doctor in order to procure a lotion or the like, although I have not actually ever had an anal wart and am not sure what they are… but from a blogging perspective, they appear to be like a golden egg, full of blogg-y magic. Honestly, there is not a mention of anal warts in anything else I have written (at least i think so), but geez, now I have to go out of my way to avoid this term.

  42. Wow, I honestly couldn’t tell you which one I am. I tend towards the writer side of this but my sex scenes are far too short, my clothes never did get that doorstep challenge white and when I open my windows in the summer the smell of the bins fills my flat…

    Does that make me the special person in the last paragraph or just in need of a better estate agent?

    • Ha ha ha – you are definitely a writer, living in the squalor of the scent of your own garbage bins! A better real estate agent will only take you so far, I’m afraid – that or perhaps you are already that special person but just don’t know it…

              • There is no such thing in the world as a squanderer. There are “squadrons” and “squids” and “levers” and “benders” but no “squanderers”. In the history of the world, this word has yet to be invented, and for good reason I might add, as it has a peculiar combination of vowels and consonants that lead one to believe that the wordly gods who thought it up where high on a buffet of ambrosia at the time. Or, you know, sacked on rye (my preference – ambrosia sounds sick yo). But you know, I think I was inferring that I find you mostly funny, and am trying to impress upon your delicate humour that I too am often hilarious, but this seems to not have worked that well as yet. The reasons elude me. It could have something to do with the company I keep, like that infernal monkey and his knitting needles in my collarbone, or that community of bloggers that I happen to love and admire to no end – yes, that is it, they are all bent and unseemly, and they are the very reason why my attempts to convey my incredible hilarity to you are not currently functioning. It had crossed my mind that perhaps the problem lay with you, but I see that you are a well-adjusted, sane contributor to society, so I tawdled away from that particular stance and chose instead to levy the brunt of the blame on my own monkey-punctured shoulders. Well deserved, Trent Lewin. Well deserved indeed.

              • You have a design? I have a discipline problem. Are they the same thing? Perhaps it is your glumness. Unlike my friend the Doc, I am not a medical person, but I am a doctor, so I will prescribe you something. How about you coddle that glumness until it sprouts two black flowers that you fry up with some eggs and feed to the nervous twit down the hall, who then erupts into some super-hero that saves the doomed domestic dunce in the building next door, and after that whips around the neighbourhood collecting cats from trees and tossing them comfortably into the back of a balloon carrier/blimp that hovers in perpetual complete isometric position above a vet clinic. Or you could consult with some scientists about your sour mood and determine if/when/how it it is related to the preponderance of dark matter that seems to elude these intellectual superstars, despite the multi-national attempts that continue to track down the culprit – but wait, you have the answer, you glum sad sour person, you have the key to dark matter, for it’s nothing more than what you smoke when you’re not looking, what you draw when you’re not reading, what you put on the stove a few days ago that’s still smoking, contributing to the malaise, the malediction, the unfortunate ambition of corruption as it leans our way. Leans our way Julie. Leans your way too. And mine, and His, and those above us all.

  43. So I tried to come up with an amazingly original way to compliment you on this post that would blow your socks off, but I can’t say anything more than what other bloggers have said, so I’m afraid your socks will have to remain un-blown off. Which is probably a good thing, actually…
    ANYWAY, this was *insert long list of complimentary words* and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
    Toodles!

  44. Great blog. Does it seem like writers and storytellers blend sometimes? I think everyone thinks they fall into both categories but college generally puts pressure on leaning towards writing rather than story telling, in my experience.

  45. Pertinently, I was just having a discussion on this very topic the other day. Sad to report, not a single person in the conversation made a comment either as well-observed or as witty as anything here. Aah well. Still, none of us (that I know of, anyway) gets our porn in magazine form still, so I guess there’s still hope…

    Am about to spam this to everyone I know who has ever used words to cover the fact that, from now on, everything I say on the subject will be directly plagiarized from you.

    Just sayin’

    Socks x

    • Excellent. I have always aspired to have someone steal my words. This must mean that I have arrived. Where I have arrived, I’m not sure, but steal away my friend, steal away.

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  47. “Writers wish they could be storytellers. Storytellers wish they could be writers. And when that all crashes together in one person, you get something very special. Sprinkle in some drugs and childhood trauma, and you’ve got something for the ages.”

    Awesome ! yea I agree when a person is able to do both then it really is something special.

  48. This is both hilarious and true. And I can honestly say I am somewhere in the middle, though I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad one. This is definitely getting re-blogged though.

  49. Neither writer nor storyteller nor poet! Just a lone voice or perhaps expression, hoping to find something in word and image to make sense of this existence. Just entered the blog-sphere and the first blog I read is yours! Thank-you for the fun piece. I look forward to reading your earlier pieces and those of the future.

    • Wow, mine is the first blog? You could do much better my friend! But very glad to meet you and I will follow along to your thoughts. Feel free to read my earlier stuff, but be warned that it is really nothing like this one post that seemed to have gotten waaaay more popularity than it rightly deserved. But as long as there were laughs to be had, it’s all okay.

    • LiLeEmm, a bit sorry to hear that. Starting off with a good blog might leave you a tad disappointed with the average blogs. You should have started at an average blog and worked your way up.
      Trent, really happy for -and proud of -you.

  50. Your blog post made me smile. I’ve had this laid-back philosophical discussion with other writers and other storytellers before. It never fails to be amusing and leaves me questioning how to make my writing more somehow.

    • I find that the only way to make your writing more is to think less of why or how you’re doing it. I’m a big baseball fan, and there’s an adage in baseball that the more you try to hit a homerun, the less likely you are to do so. If you take a natural swing and don’t think about it, your chances of success improve greatly. That said, I am not much of a hitter…

  51. Hehehe! No false credit now. Getting a topic is probably no big deal -much less a common theme on writing. We knew you had it! Now let’s see you blush till you run out of blood!
    Congrats friend.

    • Why thank you Doc. You started all this trouble – which should have been predictable. I will have to follow up with some mesmerizingly-inane tale about lesser-known saints and satirical soliloquies orchestrated by street-dwelling bards high on gasoline fumes. Not that I would know anything about gasoline fumes. Hardly anything anyway.

  52. You’ve generated quite a stir!

    I thin you’ve picked out two key things about writing which is definitely a factor especially in modern books.
    Newer books tend to eschew the descriptions, something I’m not fussed about as my imagination can fill in blanks and often makes some books tedious when the main plot is good.

    Writers vs storytellers – I’d like to think I’m a bit of both, probably leaning towards the storyteller side.
    Just a sign of the times – books are netertainment competing with countless other media. Back in the days of well thumbed pages and candle light, there really wasn’t much else, so the descriptions were a key element. That’s my take.

    • I never thought of that, and I like it. Descriptions to fill in the blanks afforded by ample time… Wonder if storytellers become predominant with the ever-faster times where attention spans shrink and we consume media as though it were made of sugar-coated noodle. Have we run out of patience for true writing? Could be.

      • I picture some future where short stories become the new novels. Or stories are published in a script format – the dialogue and plot is there but most everything else the reader imagines.

        And haikus became popular – the ultimate in short story. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

        • I agree with that – short stories will definitely become more popular, but if haikus become the rage, I’m going after them with a baseball bat. Can’t stand them (maybe because I can’t write them, I don’t know).

  53. I found your post incredibly funny, but I’m not sure I agree. Maybe we just need a third category, like “people who spout bad writing and think they’re writers”. The best writers are indeed story tellers (my favorite is Ray Bradbury). Personally, I pay great attention to grammar and other technical aspects of writing, and I enjoy research, yet I love telling stories since I want to share my experiences of travel and crazy anecdotes in weird places. Does that make me a storyteller who thinks she’s a writer? Or a storyteller who writes like a writer? Now I’m sooo confused! Thanks! 😀

    • Good morning Artygenius
      I wish I can read some of your ( recit de voyage ). I am curious by nature ( Montreal born, french born and bilingual by choice
      Daniel
      Please take care

      • Salut Daniel! Je m’appelle Elise et je parle Français. Je suis Californienne, mais j’ai appris la langue au lycee et j’ai fais une stage a Bordeaux il y a quelques annees. A bientôt!

        • Rebonjour Elyse
          Merci d avoir repondu. J ai jete un coup d oeil rapide a vos creations et je trouve ca tres beau et tres inspire. Je lis votre recit photographique avec les lions ( lion s food ). C est court mais captivant, inquietant meme. Je suis heureux que vous ayez gardé votre bras a l interieur du vehicule.
          J aimerais vous lire a nouveau si cela vous convient. Cote bijoux je ne porte qu un bijou ameriendien algonquin et une petite croix d or. Je les porte surtout lorsque je suis en plein air.
          Take care
          Daniel
          .. daniel.perras@gmail.com

    • Confusion is good for the soul when it comes to this topic, I think, anyone who thinks they’re firmly one or the other is likely actually the other or neither. Glad you saw the humour though.

  54. “…if a writer sees a bird in the park, that’s a poem.” This made me laugh out loud! I love it. I really enjoyed reading this and it is all so true! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  55. by God, you have nailed it. I cannot write because I drink bourbon and Absinthe and sometimes the two together. Does Sangira count as red wine?

    • You are a troubled soul indeed, fraught with addictions to delicious substances (in combination no less). I thus anoint you a writer and storyteller of the highest class – you must be, else what else could you be? By the way, only red wine counts as red wine my friend. Malbec is highly preferred.

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  58. ps came ALL the way over here to read something and you have been chewing your pencil!
    cmawwwn in an aussie drawl..

    just write something to me if you can’t be bothered sharing with the rest of the world 🙂

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  63. This piece is one of the ones that pops up when you “like” a post. Given your comment to me recently I know I had to read it.
    So am I a writer or a storyteller. Hmmmm. They both fit and neither fits. But I think I missed out because as a storyteller, drugs have never been involved.

    Maybe I’m a writer because I’ve told the folks who know me all of. Y stories once or ummmm a hundred times. I need new victims!

  64. I never read this and it’s made my morning here! I could say I “needed” it but a writer like you is used to hearing such crap.

    Thanks for writing about me! And long live all the fabulous bastards!

  65. This is one of the most beautiful things I have read all day.
    Sometimes I’m a writer. Sometimes I’m a storyteller.
    Sometimes I’m sobbing into a pillow or eating my feelings.
    It really depends!
    Definitely going to reblog this, though. It makes me very, very happy.

    • Oh no need to reblog, this thing has made the rounds a-plenty.

      One of the most beautiful things I have read all day… that comment made my day, cause it’s a bit squirrely. As for sobbing into the pillow and eating your own feelings… you are definitely a writer/storyteller combo. I can tell. I’m the authority on the subject, you know.

      Well, very nice to meet you. I just checked out your blog, seems like you’re getting started. So hello and be well, and let’s write, shall we?

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  67. TL-laughed the whole way through this, and of course even better as you do so whilst being hilariously honest.
    As many of yer readers I’m sure do, I view myself (based on yer description)as a storyteller.
    I feel, of course, that in my case the proof is in the proverbial poo-ding.
    Years ago now I ran the So Cal perf po circuit, there was a definite division in the poetry world between “Literariaist” or poets of academia, and us their coffee house brethren….oh it is to laugh.
    Annyway…really impressed. Reading yer fabulous posts, I am again honored that ya liked my mad ramblings and can’t wait to dip into yer ‘chives a bit.
    Thanks again n lookin ferward to more

  68. This is kind of staggeringly clever. And no, that previous sentence needed all of those words, including “kind of.” That last sentence was superfluous.

    I started out intrigued, then got annoyed, then confused, and then curious as to which of the two options you hated and which you respected. By the end, I was more confused, but also satisfied. I don’t think you’ve answered the question, but you might have established that the question is better endlessly pondered than settled one-and-for-all.

    • Very few people ever call me “staggeringly clever”, so I’ll take that comment and merely thank you for it.

      Sorry, no answers here. Just a set of questions. I’m not sure which is better, or where I fit, but I’m looking forward to the answer… which will likely be gleamed at the bottom of some scotch bottle. And in the meantime, on this insane quest, perhaps it is okay to just keep writing.

  69. Most days I wish I could get the grammar down pat enough to be a writer. When I’m writing I’m always looking for more ways to eloquently describe my childhood traumas suppressed by drugs. Cool post. It got real there son. I was almost offended at being merely a storyteller until I saw the hopeful way it ends. Alas practice makes something close to normal I guess….

  70. “And when that all crashes together in one person, you get something very special. Sprinkle in some drugs and childhood trauma, and you’ve got something for the ages.”

    Which of these makes up the most of Trent?

      • Funny we’re talking about identity, actually. You are welcome to join the RaCe that’s on and share your story on my platform (info on the page next to my About) – promote your blog. It’s a look at cultural identity. I don’t ask about drug history.

        😉

        No pressure and if I don’t hear back, take care, TL.

        HW

  71. I read your email address as “Trentle Win.” I’m going to use this as a character name. Does that make me a writer or a storyteller? I think “thief” is the correct answer.

  72. Uy, I identify with both of these but clearly being a writer is more glamorous. Is there a combination category, writeller?…Fabulous and funny post – you have a new follower (thanks Nadia!) – and drugs and childhood trauma absolutely make everything far more interesting.

    • Hey there! Nice to meet you, I’ll have to thank the wonderful Nadia for sending you by. I’m sure there is a thing called writeller… well when you’re a creative type, you’re allowed poetic license so you can make up any word, really.

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