LET ME TELL YOU A STORY
“Once upon a time…”
Remember the wonder those words could create when you were a child? With just a few simple words, transport you into a new, marvelous place filled with mystery, laughter, and knowledge. That same feeling can be found if you are a storyteller.
The humor of the human experience has always held a significant place of honor but many are discovering the varied world of the story. This ancient art form, once relegated to children’s programs in schools or libraries, is being rediscovered by adults as a marvelous way to communicate, to share their experiences in the workplace, and to assist in the process of physical and emotional healing.
· Kylia uses stories to excite her sixth grade science class. Using a “rest of the story” approach she lures students into discovering the adventure behind major discoveries.
· Pat has been opening her board meetings with stories that put the human face on the company. Problems are shared, behaviors corrected, not through accusations, but through stories that invite participation in problem solving.
· Darla addresses her church , not through sermons or lessons, but through stories that support and illustrate the values she wants to convey.
· Jane tells her patients stories as she cares for them in their homes or in the hospital. Believing that laughter is the best medicine in helping people deal with pain or struggle, she has a many funny, human stories that leave them with a smile and maybe a little courage to face their own problems.
· Maggie volunteers at a local library where she reads and tells stories to children as a surrogate grandmother. She knows that unless she does this, many children will never learn the stories, silly songs, or familiar folk tales that were such a joy in her own childhood.
So how does a person become a storyteller? If you have an interest in becoming a storyteller, it is easier than you might think. Many people enjoy sharing stories in a wide variety of settings. The often meet to swap stories, learn new skills, and spread the fun they have in telling a good tale.
In Oklahoma there is a state wide organization called The Territory Tellers (www.territorytellers.org or firstname.lastname@example.org) with a purpose of supporting storytelling in all of its many forms. Membership is open to anyone with an interest, as a teller or even a listener. Small groups meet at various locales around the state. Nationally there is
The National Storytelling Network (www.storynet.org). July 13-17, 2005, they will hold their national storytelling conference in Oklahoma City and the theme is “Movin’ On…Stories of Heart, Stories of Hope”.
Resources for storytelling are as near as your local public library or one from one the groups listed. Books of folktales, personal experiences, speeches, history, biography, newspaper articles, trivia, longer jokes (or several shorter ones strung together) can all be great sources for stories.
Learning can be easy and there is no memorization required.
1. Find a story you enjoy.
2. Read it over enough times so that you are very familiar with it.
3. Think about it. What does it mean? What does it remind you of?
4. Write a short version out. Read it aloud.
5. Visualize the parts of the story: the beginning, the middle, and the end.
6. Practice telling the story: out loud, in a mirror, to family and friends.
Before long you too can be a storyteller whose most common phrase might be….”let me tell you a story.”
Marilyn A. Hudson is a librarian, storyteller, and writer (www.marilynhudson.blogspot.com). She can be heard on the sampler storytelling CD “Falling Leaves and Stories Everywhere” produced by the Territory Tellers and has written an original Oklahoma tall tale found in the first Red Dirt Anthology (Shawnee, 2004) available in many libraries.