Thomas Doty – Storyteller


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After Grandma Aggie's Passing

My mother Fredene and her mother Maude had what the Old Ones call the Second Sight. As I have no sisters, a smidgen of this passed to me. Sometimes in dreams, sometimes in wide-awake visions, I see things that are about to happen, or a rewriting of a moment that might have happened differently had I been paying attention at the time. Lessons. This doesn't happen often, and growing up, I had no idea what these flashes meant. Mostly, I still don't. But once in a while one strikes me through with clarity.

Early this morning, I texted a friend that I would not be coming to Thanksgiving dinner. I felt I needed time alone to walk in the woods and write and meditate after the shock of Grandma Aggie's death. This had happened yesterday, and suddenly. I sent the text and fell back asleep.

In a short dream Aggie and I were standing in the spring rain along the river. She said, "Wake up, Tom! It's time to tell our stories, the true ones." And the dream ended.

She didn't say to tell her story or my story. "Our stories." And "true" didn't refer to facts or history or some shallow version of a pop culture reality. I believe what she meant was that it was time to share the truly deep stories of our people and this place, with more care and passion than I have ever done. It's this storyteller's challenge to journey to the next level. The rain and the river was a cleansing, and a clear message that it's time to rain stories and make them flow.

This begins today. And, all of a sudden, Thanksgiving dinner sounds like a good idea.

* * * * *


I have been contemplating the wisdom of announcing to the world that I see things, but remember that I am an artist. I'm expected to have a least a second sight. These thoughts reminded me of a conversation I had with a woman friend a few years ago.

"I believe your hearing is getting worse," she said. "You should get hearing aids."

"That wouldn't help," I said.

"Why not?"

"It's not that my hearing is getting worse. It's that the voices in my head are getting louder."

-- November 28, 2019