What is storytelling?
"Once upon a time... people told tales to each other. Sharing real-life stories was an essential element in forging friendships, alliances, families and communities. It brought individuals a greater intimacy with each other and, simultaneously, a stronger sense of self."
- jack maguire
It doesn’t have to be “once upon a time” it can be today. Storytelling can connect generations and get your family talking.
Since people began to communicate with each other, "Tell me a story" has been a familiar plea.
Storytelling is one person telling others about anything real (or even made up) and is often a part of our everyday conversations.
Traditionally though, stories were passed from one generation to another by memory. But with written media, this became less important. So about 30 years ago, a group of people, got together to celebrate storytelling in that ancient, oral tradition – they held a storytelling festival. The result is a renaissance of storytelling that has swept the nation.
Who is storytelling for?
Teachers, healthcare workers, therapists, corporate executives, librarians, spiritual leaders, parents, children and many others inspired by this renaissance of storytelling, are turning to storytelling to produce positive change in our world; to let each other know who we are, what we care about, where we come from, and where we are going.
To regain our footing and give us roots; storytelling can ensure that a family is more than a bunch of people living in the same house, sharing the same food, and having conversations mainly about mundane things. Developing a tradition of storytelling can reconnect us and turn parents’ hearts to their children and the children’s hearts toward the parents, and give us all a stronger sense of self.
If you look in my jewelry box you'll find an old soda bottle cap. It's from a Jones Soda, the kind with the messages printed under the lid. I live in fear that someone will come across it and simply toss it. After all, it's just a bottle cap. But for me, it is oh, so much more.
“I’m just not feeling it.” That’s the statement that most frequently accompanies an unfinished book in my home. If the book doesn’t grab my family of readers within the first few chapters, they walk away. As readers they are looking for a passionate emotional connection. Emotion and passion are the writer’s sixth sense.
"I want to come here every year so it will be a childhood memory for me like it is for you." She was only six years old, yet already Madison had seen the pictures and heard the stories. For five generations the family had come to the same national park to revel in the beauty of nature. Her parents had honeymooned there, so had her great grand parents. Her great, great, grandma had ridden a stagecoach into the park. Her grandparents had come on snowmobiles; all of them had come nearly every year of their lives.
“None of my children were able to come to their Grandma’s funeral...” The sorrow reflected in my friend’s face was palpable. She had been given the difficult task of laying her mother to rest without the loving support of her children around her. Yet, her sorrow softened as she continued, “...so, we decided to meet at Grandma’s favorite beach in Hawaii this fall to tell her stories and play her games.”
It started spontaneously as soon as we announced we were heading out on an
epic journey to visit their cousins, the back seat exploded with a
spontaneous chant, “Cousins! Cousins! Cousins!” Their grandpa and I had
taken on the privilege of tending two of our grandkids for a week and
suddenly decided we wanted to see all of our grandkids together. So we
plopped our charges in the car and headed out on an adventure.
I grew up at the beach and spent many memorable days down by the water. Not always swimming or getting sun, often just walking along the sand listening to the waves. But large bodies of water and I get along famously. So it really isn’t surprising that one of my favorite vacation spots is Lake Powell.
PA·TRI·OT·ISM -[PEY-TREE-UH-TIZ-UHM OR, ESPECIALLY BRIT., PA-] NOUN – DEVOTED LOVE, SUPPORT, AND DEFENSE OF ONE’S COUNTRY; NATIONAL LOYALTY.
When I was a little girl, I didn’t fully understand what it meant that my dad was in the military. Where we lived, even when we moved, there were always other kids whose dad’s were in the military, so I just thought it was normal. I figured all real life dad’s wore khaki uniforms with special patches and ribbons and gold bars, and that they moved around a lot, too. It was only on t.v. that dad’s didn’t. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that what my dad did to provide for our family wasn’t the norm, it was special.
Once upon a time I told some of my grandkids a folktale that included some Water Buffalo leaving their droppings in holes in the road so people wouldn't trip in them. It's just a sweet little tale that brings on the giggles. Yesterday those same grandkids went for a walk with their momma. Along the way Hadley observed there were a lot of horse droppings in the road. To which her little sister, Madison, declared, "I put those there so you wouldn't step in the holes!"
I will never forget the first time I attended a storytelling festival.
Curious, a friend and I attended on a “work assignment”. Not sure what to expect, we had carefully selected events from the online schedule, that would mean the least amount of commitment for our time and money. But from the moment I stepped on the grass in the evening air and approached that big, billowing tent, white lights glimmering from within, I was smitten. And that’s before I ever heard a word from the stage. The people so excited, the surroundings breathtaking, an energy in the air and I could feel it. I took my seat, soaked in the atmosphere, and made a conscious decision to suspend my preconceived ideas about what was going to happen.