I’m not sure who is more excited; me, or Jack. I’ve seen Jack Scheer tell stories a few times, but never got the time to get to know him better. Jack seems excited to just talk about storytelling. Either way, storytelling is at the center of our enthusiasm.
Jack has been performing in community theater for over 30 yrs. His drive for doing plays and acting is this: he loves getting stories out into the world. And he’s done this very well and often over the years. Theater is fun and enjoyable, but it’s not the calling that he was really looking for. When most of us are asked “What are you looking for?”, people sometimes say “I’ll know it when I see it.” In Jack’s case, he knew it when he heard it. And what did he hear? The Moth storytelling show on NPR radio.
After becoming a listener, Jack began following storytellers he heard about from the show. This led to conversations with friends of his who occupied this exciting new world of storytelling. One conversation let to the another, which then led Jack to a conversation with Jessica Robinson, the founder of Better Said Than Done. Now Jack is telling stories in a way he didn’t have available to him before; he tells stories his way. When performing theater, your performance is meant to be done a certain way. The way the writer intended. But with storytelling, especially personal narrative storytelling, Jack found he can tell stories how he image it.
Initially, Jack kept told stories here and there, depending on the theme. Now, he finds himself telling stories about 3 – 4 times a year. As he is cultivating stories from past experiences and a blog he once hosted, he hopes to bring them to additional venues and shows in the near future.
When I asked Jack why he would recommend others should go to storytelling shows he had this to say “Hear real life experiences. Hear compelling stories. In other media, you are translating someone’s experiences, Storytelling is presentable and real. Real like the people telling the story in front of you.” When Jack put it that way, I had a moment of realization: That is a very powerful experience to have.
Should everyone be a storyteller? From Jack’s perspective, everyone already is. He would be surprised if everyone has 12 or so stories the world is ready to hear. One has to understand that others are hungry to hear the stories you have. In cultivating your stories, you’ll find yourself on a path of self-discovery. A lot more has happened to people than they realize. It will help you make sense out of your life as you piece things together. Stories have a way of healing the storyteller and the story listener.
Jack isn’t sure that storytelling has changed him, but has brought his life in shaper view. Being on stage and telling stories is his natural environment. He’s at home and not nervous with an audience and a mic. While he feels he’s good at telling stories, he feels he’s not great. Jack is looking forward to the journey of being a great storyteller. Excited about what that growth will look like. Check out one of Jack’s stories below. Better yet, come see him on 25 May at the Better Said Than Done show “Crazy 8’s: Celebrating 8 years of storytelling”
See Jack Live at:
See one of Jack Sheer’s videos: