I Kinda Like Being a Storyteller


Pretty sure my kiddo likes it too


In the beginning, there was Brennan


It was March 20th, 2016. He was barely 5 weeks old, and was sitting in my arms while I confounded him with some nuisance about a far-away kingdom rife with rejoicing and fanfare at his birth.  But when I got to the part about the “magical ombillyboombillyhom” and started to produce noises that he, at 6 weeks old, was entirely unfamiliar with, his eyes widened to a similar diameter as that of Betelgeuse (pictured above).  Brennan, in his infancy, was spellbound and beholden to the strange sounds now emanating from the creature called Dada.  Not that any of it made sense before, but this surely was something new that would reside in his memory forever – or, at least until the next diaper poo hit, which is a time where I’m not certain he thought about anything else, save grunting.

Brennan has always had big eyes.  It is an attribute that I actually prayed for before he was born, because I think my wife’s eyes are gorgeous: a subtle mix between rare amethyst, cunning wit, and unicorn sparkle.  If I wanted my son to have anything, I wanted him to have her looks, because there should really only be one person on this planet with my face at any one time, lest there be widespread panic and despair.  I specifically prayed for him to have Mama’s eyes, because they’re big and beautiful.

God answered my prayers.


(As you can see, he not only responds with big eyes to drama, but also to mama...)


When Brennan was born on February 12th, 2016, our lives changed forever.  I think that’s fairly commonplace though, because once a firstborn child arrives, Dads officially cease to exist and become merely a Giant Fleshy Wallet from which to extract needed funds for all things baby: necessary and frivolous.  Indeed, when I would walk into Babies R Us in those first few months, the tellers would all greet me as “Your Lordship,” and introduce me to the most expensive items that my son should surely own: the new teddy bear, the light-up singing octopus, my ability to resist, etc..

This little man became part of our story, and not just for a time, but for all time.  And those beautiful eyes would become interwoven into the saga that is us.  Brennan, from a very young age, has always had a flair for the dramatic, and a penchant for fantasy.  He’s part bone, part blood, all Pixar.  I do not know what else might be in there, but I do believe it was put there by someone named Gandalf.


Two Births


Sure, I’d told stories for a while before then.  After all, I've performed voiceovers off and on since 1993.  But not like this.  I mostly do corporate and E-Learning voiceovers.  So I've certainly not done VO work with the same level of pizzazz and ingenuity.  Telling stories to Brennan requires an upgraded level of panache and flamboyance (which means panache) that I didn’t readily possess until someone burst into our lives and triggered gene #DAS123GO, otherwise known as the Dada Awesome Storyteller Gene.  It was, at this point, that I was officially born as a storyteller.  I keep forgetting to contact Washington State Records Department and have them update my birth certificate accordingly.

Brennan has always loved to play act, and imagine.  Oh my that boy has a wild imagination.  He will often set the stage for some sort of impromptu scenario in which he plays the director – I’m sure that this is his subtle way of reminding that it is he, not I, that has absolute power – and I am assigned a lowly role, often that of an extra.

I am joking.  He will usually cast me as “Dada.” It does take me a bit of time to get into character and assume this role.  But once I’ve got my plumber’s crack showing, an overly tight T-Shirt highlighting my man-boobs, and a beer in one hand, I’m ready to go and play my part.  But I realize to my horror that I have not in fact been provided anything resembling a script, and I do not wish to fail the 3-Foot OverLord TaskMaster who has so graciously cast me.  So I dutifully play along and improvise as best as I can.  This usually consists of my posing incredulous questions and statements such as “He didddd???” and “Oh my goodness!!!” with loud and exaggerated bombast.

Two things are possible at this point.  I will not pass my audition with him, and will thus go into anaphylactic shock.  Or, I will pass, and be officially cast in the role of "Dada" for life, and will thus go into anaphylactic shock.


In the end, our makeshift play is over in approximately 15 seconds, and my son has forgotten all remnants of it, along with the fact that I am alive, because there is a trampoline just outside.  I alone appreciate the irony that I purchased it, unbeknownst to him, as a distraction so that I would not be cast in small plays with no scripts.  I’m a voiceover guy.  I need a script.  I do not think he appreciates this fact.

There was actually a time – and I mention this in a previous blog – that I was not allowed to read stories to him in a foreign accent, such as North American English.  I am again joking.  I was prohibited by Brennan from assuming a British, or Scottish, or Australian accent, as that was for some reason disallowed.  He would take his bottle out of his mouth while I was reading, and scold me with “NORMAL!”.  I would die a little inside when he did that, but then I remembered that he needed me to stay alive for things like food, heat, and toys.  (See “Giant Fleshy Wallet” remark)  But now, two years later, he’s relaxed his posture a bit.  See?  There he is, on the floor, laying like a gelatinous emu.

Brennan, Brennan, Brennan.  My beloved son, who loves to imagine.  I love his head, and the beautifully free spirit that makes him who he is.  When he was born, I too was born.  And while I know that sound weird, I don't see the need to explain it, partly because it should be clear, and mostly because it’s my blog and not yours.


Once upon a long time ago, in a galaxy near, near to us


These days, when I put him down at night, he wants a story.  And not just any story. Here’s how his request will often be delivered: “Dada, will you tell me a Brennan story with Brennan in it?”  At which point I scold him for his utter narcissism and beat him within an inch of his selfish life.  When we’re finished mopping up the blood, and I turn down the stereo which was at maximum to block out his screams, I stroke his hair and say “Yes, my beloved son.  I sure will.”

It is then that I proceed to regale him with a fantastical tale of intrigue, dragons, robots, monsters, knights, superheroes, sharks, witches, Jesus (usually not found in the same story as the witches), good guys, bad guys, and freaking lasers.  I make it up as I go along, of course, and it’s brilliant.  You see, I am kind of a big deal, and my son knows it.  Though he doesn’t know that I’ve climbed up the ranks in voiceovers and it is that very vocation that enables me to tell him these stories, you should see him.  Spellbound.  Mesmerized.  Captive.  And you should see his big, beautiful eyes as my tale reaches some sort of painful conflict/resolution point, which I am told is not present in any story, ever.

The story goes on until its natural conclusion, where Brennan is a little boy again, safe in his bed, and of course, promoted to High Chancellor of the Universe.  (I’m having a scepter made).  But all along, the story is told, and he loves every single minute of it.

That little boy with the big eyes just became a bigger boy with the big eyes, that’s all.  I loved telling him stories then, and I love it now.

I kinda like being a Storyteller.  And those big, beautiful eyes tell me I'm doing OK.  That is, at least until the new Trampoline XT2000 arrives.


(Just look at those big eyes!)



NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes.  I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.


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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire

22 thoughts on “I Kinda Like Being a Storyteller”

      1. Lol, most don’t know what a VCR is these days. If you show them a tape, they’ll ask: “What is that?”
        At which point you feel your “back in my day” comin’ on.

        1. I unfortunately reached the “Back In My Day” level several years ago when I asked a Subway worker if the music playing overhead was Michael Jackson, and they asked me who that was. I felt a pain in me that I could not locate, and knew that I was now old.

  1. No audience will ever matter more than that one. The experience never leaves you. I am sure it will stay with him also. I only have one question. What is a Freaking Laser? I think you watch different movies than I do.

    1. The scary thing is he knows it! He KNOWS he matters. Oh dear Lord he’s become self-aware. Lord help us all.

      Freaking Lasers are the things that those flying ship-thingies say when they go pew-pew. At least that’s what I’m told. I only watch Bob Ross.

  2. One word: Awwww … My son just turned 18 a couple weeks ago, but I get email from Shutterfly weekly of pics from “10 years ago today,” “14 years ago today,” etc., and oftentimes will call out to my boy, “Come look at this. Look how CUTE you were!” and receive the age-appropriate eye roll and “Ok, mom,” along with maybe just a little hint of a half-smile 😊 And you’re not the only one whose toddler didn’t like it when entertaining accents were attempted by a parent! Seeing as how my son’s dad was a native Cuban and I’d studied it right up through to Spanish lit in college, I thought I’d teach him a little Spanish around age 2. He always protested vehemently with a ‘No, mommy, no!” He later proceeded to fail Spanish in high school and is now trying it a third time as a senior so that he can graduate this year. I’m trying not to blame myself for apparently traumatizing him at such a young age! Fortunately for you, I’m pretty sure they don’t offer Scots, British English, or Aussie 101 in school!

    1. They should. Our scholastic system has deeply failed us with the deprivation of, namely, the British accent. If they would simply incorporate it into current curriculae, we’d raise up better wizards, gnomes, and James Bond villains.

  3. My children, at various ages, have enjoyed my storytelling abilities.
    My 12 year old no longer prefers storytelling, he prefers Xbox and YouTube.
    My 6 year old, Jett, loves when I read to him in various character voices. In fact…he reads to me in character voices now.

    Happy Thanksgiving Josh and family.
    Much love and good vibes!

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