A Round About Way to Get To It
One storyteller’s journey with Chuck Larkin as her Fodor’s guide
My road to fulfilling my dream of becoming a full time, freelance, professional, storyteller has been full of ups and downs. As per my German (nee Niemann, Steiner, Klein) heritage the road was straight and narrow – no room to pull over and cry on soft shoulders. It was full of stop and go’s. I was either telling at full-tilt or a dead stop. My streets were well marked, but I often found myself at a dead-end with no marked path in site. I kept my road atlas at my side referring to it diligently not trusting my own sense of direction. Other, more experienced tellers and friends admonished my reluctance to trust…to let the spirit take me where it will. But I held fast to my modus operande. Perhaps, one day I would get around to it, but not now.
Then, one year, while traveling the C-roads in the boot of England, my life as a storyteller changed direction – so to speak. At the White Stag Inn I met a gypsy man. Being from Scotland, he regaled me with his adventures in his thick Scottish brogue. He was leading the life he wanted by following his dream - building and renovating old caravans. He took me for a tour of the wagons – so small, yet every nook was filled with the gypsy’s life – a violin, fine china, religious icons, souvenirs from every corner of the world. He let the spirit be his guide in his travels.
Then, I talked about myself, about my travels,. I told him how I always needed to know where I was going, how long it would take, how much money I could spend, and where I would lay my head at night. I told him I was a wee bit jealous of his ability to pick up and take off. Carpe Diem!
He smiled a knowing smile as if he’d heard my story many times before. He went over to his ornate, tolle-painted dresser and handed me a ‘tuit. I had never heard of such a thing. It was a circle made of rough-hewn wood. On it was stamped the word “‘tuit.” “What is it?” I asked. He pressed it gently into the palm of my hand and said in that lovely Scottish lilt, “Ah, Lassie, ‘tis yours to keep. One of these days as you travel the high roads and the low roads, you just might be finding that you need it. Trust in yourself…trust, and you will find your way.”
Well, the sun was getting low, and it was time to say goodbye. As I climbed into my red Gremlin I waved a final farewell, put my car into gear, and traveled west toward the setting sun. But. I was driving on the “wrong” side of the road, and the hedges were higher than an elephant’s eye. Then, out of nowhere, I approached the dreaded round-about. Cars were circling about like ponies on a carousel. I finally nosed my way into the stream of passing cars, when the unthinkable happened. As I rounded the first curve, my road map – my guide, slid past the passenger seat and became stuck between the seat and the car door. My world for just a moment consisted of red brake lights and whirling hedges broken only by roads that radiated out like spokes on a wheel. It was in that round-about that I finally understood what my storytelling mentors and the Scottish Gypsy meant. I knew that this was my defining moment. I took out the ‘tuit from my pocket. I held it in front of the steering wheel. “Carpe Diem!” I cried as I let the car veer off onto a less-traveled connecting road. I had no idea where I was, what direction I was going, but I knew.
Don’t ask me how…I just knew I had finally gotten a round ‘tuit!!!
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