Well, hopefully all that are reading this in the Chicago land area are safe and dry. What tremendous storms have rolled through the area. Some spots have up to 7 inches of rain from the storms...once again the highways are closed down near Niles, Il., which is just north of Chicago. Airlines are delayed. This has been probably the most stormatic summer I think I can ever remember. When I wrote back a while ago about time to built an ark...I think the joke should morph into reality as I watch the waters take over all over the world!
As for the theme for the day, I have decided to talk about storytelling. My reasoning behind this is to help educate the public in general of what it means to be a storyteller or simply why you might want to seek one out. Whether to hear a performance, compare tellers, hire them for entertainment, and what some can and cannot do.
First off, most people have the impression that storytellers are for children....so NOT the case. In fact, I, myself have so many different types of programs that are geared strictly for the adults. The second misunderstanding that we always address...is that storytellers DO NOT just come in and READ a book. We are entertainers. We are there to inspire, excite an oftentimes educate the audience. We can bring laughter and tears, moments to ponder and question to be asked.
Now, not all storytellers are adept in all areas of storytelling. Some are strictly for children, some have their own particular niche in an area that speaks to their hearts like mythology, or history. There are some storytellers who are more of a performer who will come and do a first person performance of a particular character. There are performers who will come dressed in costume and some who may have a little extra bling to them in their street clothes. Some are inter active with the audience, some sing, dance, and play instruments. There are some that do what we like to call fractured or twisted tales...if you are now wondering what that is...the teller takes a well known story...ex: the 3 little pigs and using that story, twists it around in their own special way. Perhaps they change who the bad guy is...maybe it is the pig instead of the wolf, perhaps they aren't building a house, they have substituted it with something else. Perhaps it is told as though by a news reporter. Interesting to hear a number of people perform this back to back. Now just because the story is the 3 little pigs, doesn't necessarily mean that it is for children either. Because in todays world, I even question how many children know the story of the three little pigs. Now some of you may sit and say "no way" but trust me...this has been encountered...what we were brought up on, is not necessarily what todays youth are brought up on.
There are stories that are for bringing the world together with folk tales. Tales that perhaps your grandparents or parents have shared with you. Through the past 13 years as a storyteller, I have learned that many countries tell the same tales, only they have their own spin on them...often times to teach a lesson or a moral.
I myself was raised by my grandparents and know that it was just a common thing to have them share their stories of childhood, whether they were making them up or handing them down from generations before them. As I have blogged, some of the comments that I receive back say that the stories I have written have transported them back in time...or given them food for thought, or opened their eyes to something new. That is what story telling is al about. It is spreading the stories, feeling the story, learning the story. It is the best feeing as a storyteller to have people come up to me after a performance and ask questions. They will ask where I learned that from, They will share that it brought back memories from years ago. I see their faces as I tell funny and comical stories as their laughter bellows through the air.
I know that I have touched their hearts as I see them wipe away a tear. I see their eyes grow wider and wider as I share a spine tingling ghost story. I am able to see children squeal with glee as a puppet is used....honestly, as a child I remember that puppets were an everyday part of my life but not really the case with children today.
Most people are not aware that there are storytelling festivals that are held all over the world. Most are unaware of an event called Tellebration. For those who have never heard this name...Tellebration is an event held by storytellers' all over the world on the weekend before Thanksgiving. It is a time when a guild of storytellers get to together to educate people about the art of storytelling. I , as president of my storytelling guild called Windy City Tellers search for a location each year to provide this service. We do not charge for the performance. If there is a fee, it is nominal and goes to a charity.
As I have performed various stories for various organizations and all ages, I usually land up laughing to myself afterwards about the reaction from the audiences. Sometimes, the parents and grandparents are so engaged in the story, yet they are there because they wanted to bring the children to storytelling.
Storytelling encourages reading and literacy as well. Often times I am asked when performing for an adult audience, where I got the information. Sometimes I am asked if there are books on the information that I can suggest for them to read. I do not sit and memorize a story, and I usually won't tell a story unless it speaks to me
I have to find a passion inside of me that resonates with the information and find a way to put it all together.
When you see a storyteller, some may perform the same stories all the time. This is their niche of stories. I will repeat stories only when they are told at different locations or am asked to include a particularly loved one. I, myself love the challenge of uncovering the unknown. I myself, am like a dog with a bone. I am tenacious when I am investigating a story. I look down every possible avenue. If possible I even visit the area I am writing about. I try to go back as far as it will allow. I make notes and outlines. Work on writing an interesting piece to myself. Tell it in my own words and then rehearse it. I put countless hours into preparations as a storyteller, as I am positive other tellers do as well.
To be a storyteller has a lot to take into consideration. An audiences age is a big one, public told stories are to be politically correct so as not to offend anyone, the location, the microphone systems, and so much more.
If you have read this blog, or have been reading my blogs all along, please take a moment and look on my website program page to see some of what sort of programs that I perform. They are all not listed, as I always have stories made to order as well. Perhaps it will help to explain even further the diversity of storytelling. I also must interject that hiring a storyteller is not only limited to large venues. Imagine a Halloween party that has a storyteller brought in to tell those spine tingling, hair raising stories to both children and or adults. Imagine Mrs. Claus walking into your holiday party to share stories for the season...or maybe even Frosty the snowman telling some frosted tales. Years back, I always threw a Christmas party and of course there was always a theme with me and I would hire some type of entertainment. My guests always remembered what a special night that was. They always told me that the entertainment always added that special touch. So why not a storyteller? It's quaint cozy and familiar. I hope that this particular blog has given you an inside story as to who I am . If you are looking for a place to hear stories...I post open venues on my site, and if you are looking for someone special to make your event that much more eventful, I hope that I can be of service to you. Give me a call or email me. Thanks for listening to this story.