I’m Not a Writer

“I’m Not a Writer,” Never Said the Storyteller

by Angela Ardrey-Reynolds and Bette Saffran

I’m Not a Writer . . . I hear this too many times when I ask Toastmasters to share their stories.

Here’s a little secret from this writer (yes, me): STORIES COME FROM ALL OF US—through our words and our imaginations.

The other day, a Toastmaster contacted me asking if her friend could submit a story for possible publication.

“ABSOLUTELY!” . . . Woohoo!

I opened the email and began to read.

Good evening, Angela. I made the decision to submit this article to the Synergy Toastmasters Magazine.
Our club felt this contest and timing was a good vehicle for our speakers. Most of us chose to manipulate our voices by using different dialects and accents.
Realizing that we are right around the corner of the “2023-24 Toastmasters International Speech Contest,”
speakers were provided another venue to work on the fine-tuning of speaking.
I appreciate your consideration of this submission.

I proceeded to read her attachment. It was her story. And . . . wait, let me allow you to see for yourself.

Today’s meeting was fun and entertaining. We had our Spooky Stories today and heard from 5 speakers, each with a 5-7 minute “Spooky Story”.
Marilyn was a hysterical Boo Master and graced us with a one-eyed witch that ushered us through our meeting, with a little pick-me-up from her “Blood” filled bottle.

Our speakers today were:

Greg McClintic

Josh Race

Bette Saffran

Nic Patterson

Frank Passarelli

Greg told us his crazy prison tale in rhyme. He was very good at delivering poetry. Greg, you will always have a job “Rappin’ for Jesus.” His red beret might have added to the rapper theory. His scary story melded into his current life and pastoral career. It culminated in fear at seeing a “notice to appear before the judge” that turned out to be a jury duty notice. Thanks once again, Greg, for the great laughs today.

Josh showed up today as a biker dude, only we didn’t recognize him. Josh told a very scary, true story about how he found himself rescuing his next-door neighbor armed only with a mop. He saw the man, the knife, and acted. Not many would have been so willing to defend another person against a man wielding a knife. The perpetrator ended up in the back seat of a police cruiser with blood dripping down his arm. I’m still not sure if the wound was from the mop or…? I like to think it was Josh and his O’Cedar. Thanks, Josh. Not many have an exciting tale like that to draw from.

Bette wrote a radio show, “Shady Parlor,” that had several characters depicted each by a prop and appropriate voice. The story was about a young man growing up in a nightmarish mortuary. There was an illicit drug smuggling operation that didn’t end well for the trusting Shady Pines residents. The young man became a prolific serial killer and struck down 26 people prior to his arrest. We were introduced to Malcolm Bates, a cigar-smoking police investigator who solved the mystery of the missing bodies. With a final warning for the Halloween Ghost Tourists, “Don’t trample graves of Ghosts, or you too might become one of the lost souls forever.”

Nic wrote an imaginative bedtime story that any parent would enjoy reading to little Timmy just before lights out!  It was about an entrepreneur Prison Officer harvesting body parts from his prisoners. The catch was that the spirit of the organ donors remained locked inside, bringing new insights and talents to the recipients. It was a hoot! Of course, there was one organ that maintained the insight and memory of the prisoner it was harvested from. The tables were turned on that officer, and the story had a great ending that tied each newly gifted recipient to the resolution. (insert ghostly snicker) Thanks, Nic, for sharing your mind with our club today.

Frank regaled us with, yet another story based on fact, about a wealthy man who understood well the lesson that wealth doesn’t buy happiness. Financial downturns that were precipitated by hard luck constrained him to sell his treasures at a fraction of their worth. He endured the loss of many sons, the youngest with but a single day of life. His six sons succumbed to every sort of horror a Father could imagine. Yet throughout it all, he still had his Catholina, until she too passed away. There is a bright spot each year. His entire family, the spirits of his children and wife, come together every year for a brilliant, bright family reunion in the dining room of their familiar, beloved family home.

Frank, thanks so much for sharing this touching story with us.


The Purveyor of The Document

Synergy is a platform for your stories. Allow your words and imagination to guide you in creating your very own story—just like it did for Bette Saffran of Village Toastmasters.

Dear Bette Saffran,

We truly enjoyed sharing your story. Thank you for the beautiful gift.

Keep Creating,

Angela and the Synergy Team

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