Words: “I Am Not Simply A Story-teller …”

Not simply a story-teller

One of my goals in starting BELOW THE SALT NEWS was to explore the power and possibilities of stories and storytellers to create change.

Whether the story is based in fact or fantasy; whether it is told through art, invention, music, or words; whether it is couched in persuasion, humor, aggression or demand — every story is an invitation to explore and an opportunity to reframe.

Hail the brave storyteller who opens the door and beckons others into his/her realm. But that invitation is only the first step.  Will anyone enter?  And once inside, will guest and host take the opportunity to openly connect and explore? Or will each hug the corners of their own stories and plan their escape?

Even with a connection made, will it live only in that moment?  Or will it go forward and impact the future?  And will we tally that impact — for the better or the worse?

Yes, there is so much power and possibility in every story-teller’s invitation.

Not simply a story-teller
With son Tad (Public domain)

In one of my all time favorite quotes, Abraham Lincoln confesses to putting the power and magic of storytelling to good use.

"I believe I have the popular reputation of being a story-teller, but I do not deserve the name in its general sense; for it is not the story itself, but its purpose, or effect, that interests me.

I often avoid a long and useless discussion by others or a laborious explanation on my own part by a short story that illustrates my point of view.

So, too the sharpness of a refusal or the edge of a rebuke may be blunted by an appropriate story, so as to save wounded feeling and yet serve the purpose.

No, I am not simply a story-teller, but story-telling as an emollient saves me much friction and distress."

~~ Abraham Lincoln, June 26, 1863 (Abraham Lincoln: His Essential Wisdom, pg. 107)

I too am not simply a story-teller!


March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865

16th President of the United States

Husband & father of four
Story-teller, river boater, shopkeeper, inventor
Militia captain, postmaster, lawyer
Member of State House of Representatives (IL) & US House of Representatives (IL)



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