I have always enjoyed telling stories and tales. Many a time, while telling a good one, I will say, “…to make a long story short….” Some long-winded, rambling reminiscence or a re-telling of some adventure or story about something I experienced usually followed this catchphrase.
Storytelling is as old as humankind and although some say it is a dying form of art, I disagree. I like to think that everything is a story and nothing is a short story. Since the beginning of time, people have kept records of events and things that occurred in their daily existence. They usually passed these memories or tales along from the elders to the younger members of a clan, community, or population. Before the printing press, “oral history” was the way to ensure that the stories, traditions, and events were stay alive and known for generations to come.
I have, by nature, always been a curious person and I see a story in just about everything and everyone. I drive along the road writing stories in my head and walk the beach creating plots and connecting ideas for stories. At night, I dream fantastic dreams that, upon waking, I exclaim to myself, “Damn, that would make one hell of a novel or movie.” Usually, after becoming fully awake, the details and plots fade and thus, the world once again has been cheated out of a great book or movie.
As a boy, having spent most of my summers on Galveston Island, I developed a huge affinity for the sandy island in the Gulf. Stories were told to me by elders; some things I read in books or saw in movies. Summers on Galveston were magical and offered a myriad of story subjects and characters about which to write. Over the years, I kept notes and certainly held tightly to any memories that involved Galveston.
Several years ago, around 2011, I determined to compile some of my Galveston stories and put them into book form and, perhaps, share them with others. I knew that over the years, folks had (mostly) enjoyed my writing and stories in various publications. As I compiled the stories and dig into stored boxes for notes and ideas I had jotted down, I realized some of my stories merited retelling and in a collected form, a book!
Thus it was, with the pandemic and time on my hands, I thrust myself into completing the book of my Galveston tales. The title, of course, would be Galveston Memories and Related Stories, as I figured this would cover the gamut of topics I would include in such a collection. The tales would range from island history, current affairs, and my memorable island adventures, to a splash of educational entries. Having been a wildlife biologist and a science teacher, I wanted to include some factual natural history elements regarding some creatures that I included in my tales.
After months of working on the stories, I came up with about 40 that I felt would make for a good collection to have published. I ordered the stories in no order, preferring that folks would flip around and read whatever title caught their eye. I laughingly told my publisher, “This is a great ‘toilet reading’ book for anyone interested in Galveston,” a leisure reading not designed to sit and read from cover to cover in one sitting.
I do hope that readers will enjoy the stories that I have included and how the collection might stimulate some to record their own stories and tales. There is nothing better than sitting around with friends or family and sharing stories, be they old or new. After all, everything is a story and nothing is a short story.
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