The Last Storyteller: The Lost City

–Coauthored with Raissa Urdiales

Part 1

Stories told from memories passed.  Photos in our minds that beckon words to describe what had been.  The artists and the writers create pictures in the mind’s eye; each sees something different and retells their memories of what was seen and heard.  Indeed, the stories were crossing generations, each evolving with the telling of Legend Has it.

With every journey, we learn things along the way that we never knew before.  Life is a series of experiences creating bonds and memories forever held in our bodies and souls.  Raissa and the others’ journey made the Strong Ink and Magic Paint forever create a union once separated but never to be broken again.  The telling of the story of the live paintings.  The words that flowed when others see what she created with the magic paint and had been missing in her life puzzle.  Larry and the other storytellers would share what they felt when viewing her paintings; she understood that our minds’ pictures can be expressed through images and words.  Many more stories could be told in learning this, beginning with the vision and letting life’s experiences form the narrative that beckons to be told. Indeed, the stories will forever live on.  The feeling of a connection repeats from generation to generation, never allowing a lost loved one to ever leave in spirit even if they are no longer physically with us.

Raissa looked forward to their arrival at the Lost City.  A place where the stories would be told.  The joining of those stories with the paintings to be created. An area where a new garden of colors could be planted and the Strong Ink would flow like a river moving downstream to the ocean.

Part 2

The heat was unbearable as we walked the long-deserted road.  It went on as far as the eye could see with roads crossing at regular intervals.  It was a development that never got off the ground.  It was the dream of James Franklin Jaudon.  He broke ground in 1921 and by 1923 the fund dried up, he called it a day and walked away.  This was a place that held rumors of Al Capone and fiddle player Ervin T. Rouse.  Rouse played at the infamous Gator Hook Lodge and lived nearby with his two dogs.  This place was so secret that the unbelievers would never know of it, as they did not believe in history or folklore.

We were down to three of us, Raissa, Charlie Walker, and me.  Of course, where we went Buddy my hound dog was always nearby.  Len Bernat had taken the unbelievers on a wild chase through the Sewee National State Park so that we could be free of them for this meeting.  Len had most likely gotten the unbelievers lost and he would be sitting at T. W. Graham in McClellanville drinking sweet tea and eating shrimp and grits.  We were tired and travel worn. We had escaped through the dark swamps near the North Carolina – South Carolina border close to Fair Bluff.  We came close to being captured by the unbelievers there in that dark water swamp, yet we made our way to the Pee Dee River on to Tega Cay to see the living paintings from Raissa.  Now here we were on the last leg of our journey standing here where only ghosts and spirits live.  It was only fitting since we were the last of the Storytellers.

This was the place we would gather; this lost place that begged a “Legend has it” story, Indeed!  The feeling of the spirits was strong and Raissa’s living painting was changing by the moment.  Johnny Johnston was flying his plane in with The Lost Book of Stories and Dennis Pitocco was bringing his helicopter in to take us back to Tampa, Florida where he had gathered an incredible group of writers. The pulse of the story was beating strong while the voice of the unbelievers was diminishing.  The ones that wanted to stop storytelling now wanted their own books to tell their own stories.

The Apex had shifted, and the power of strong ink was formidable and unstoppable. The belief that the children had in books and storytelling was without limits and powerful.  The strength of imagination had no boundaries.  From this moment forward the children would once again hear the stories; the ones that start with Legend has it… and their imaginations will grow, they will carry these stories with them for a lifetime telling their children and grandchildren about a time when stories came to life and lived within our hearts.

Johnny Johnston and Dennis Pitocco arrived in a low flying helicopter and landed in a cloud of dust.  Everyone was rejoicing and laughter and smiles were shared along with a few tears of relief that our journey was coming to an end.  Dennis had started a movement of hope that brings writers from all over the world to one safe place.  A place where writers would share their stories and believe that through our words, we could bring hope to the world by bringing Strong Ink and Imagination back to the written word.

Tonight, the Storytellers are many and we will sit down with the children. and tonight would be the night that Storytellers would once again sit by beds and say Legend has it that deep in the forest, and once again the children would still believe in fairytales.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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