Monday, September 05, 2005

The Lady and the Storyteller

I've been teaching an introductory storytelling class and typical for summer, the group is small. Once a week, we gather together for the students to share the story they've been working on each week. It's a lot of fun. We videotape the tellers and use that for self and group feedback.

Last week, my students (who are actually all high school students this time around) each tackled a large traditional story. Although we don't assign stories, they all came back with a very similar type of story. For example, one of the more reticent students took on "Lady and the Tiger" to tell and experience.  Each of these young people did a great job telling, self evaluating and giving feedback to each other. For some of the students, the last class was a grand experience in getting past fear and hesitancy and simply jumping into experience of  public storytelling. I love being a storyteller and I think that I love teaching even more.

My <b> Tip of the Week</b> for you this week is: JUMP IN. I've used this tip before and I will use it again. If you want to be a storyteller, tell stories. As a painter is not a painter until she picks up brush and paint, so a teller is not a teller until he tells a story. Don't give into your fears that you might not know all the rules or you might do it wrong. There's a new book right now that is being promoted as THE BOOK to give THE rules of storytelling. Don't you believe it. Suggestions, guidelines, ethical discussion- those things are all good. Don't get too concerned in the beginning about breaking rules. For me, the "rules" of storytelling are more like pools of refreshing water than pits of unforgiving lava anyway.

Maybe you've been hesitant about telling stories. Maybe you've been waiting for a '"sign" to tell you to start. I am happy today to be your sign-bearer. Jump in and start telling.

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