Monday, February 08, 2016

Teaching Stories - How I got here!

If you look at the Hero's Journey (or have read Joseph Campbell's book "The Hero with a Thousand Faces") you know we go through cycles, just as heroes do in books and films. Call to Adventure, Refusal of Call, Going, Aid, Crossing the Threshold, Road of Trials, The Ultimate Boon, Magical Flight, Rescue from Without, The Return, and then, Freedom. Or some such. If we look at our life's path and at 'how we ended up here', I bet we can all see some places in our past where choices have led us in a certain direction, and other life choices have taken us elsewhere. From personal life decisions to what we choose to do in our work.

Me getting into storytelling was one of those life changing moments. There were pointers on the trail of life, and then an opportunity came along,which I fought but eventually took, and here I am.
I began teaching storytelling fairly quickly after I began becoming a professional storyteller. I was also working for the Thetford Libraries, in Vermont. Peabody Library had been doing Winter Solstice stories for grown-ups for years. The library director Peter would find great literature and read to a rapt audience. As children's librarian, I decided to tie-in a kids program where the kids would learn stories about the Solstice, winter - anything to do with that time of year, and then tell the stories. Some of the kids were a little shy, so parents asked to participate, and then some community members asked to be tellers, too. We had a lighting of candles, told stories, then feasted on snacks - some of them healthy, all of them good. At the final presentation that first year, there was standing room only to listen to the stories shared. It was amazing - a true community event.

Teaching people to tell stories is a wonderful experience, no matter the age of the participants. For me, some kids under 9 years of age have a hard time 'getting' the process, but no matter the age they still end up delivering.

For more on what I do, wait for the next installment and part two!

No comments: