Thursday, July 19, 2007

Final Yashinsky Chapter for Me: "Lives of the Storytellers"

This was probably one of the best chapters in the text. It begins with a metaphorical definition of the two most important skills that a storyteller must learn: "The first is how to move furniture, the second is how to carry cups of tea to "old women."

Furniture moving is putting the storytelling space in order. However, the far more important metaphor is serving tea to old ladies to hear and gather stories from erudite mentors who enhance your storytelling art. Yashinsky points out that skill will be gained by devoted listening to tellers who know far more about stories, storytelling. and life than the neophyte teller knows.

Yashinsky well illustrates his relationship with his mentors (Angela Sidney, Alice Kane, Joan Bodger) and provides four good points for working with your mentor(s):
  • First, find one or more.
  • Second, follow proper listener's decorum and don't interrupt or ask too many impatient questions. They will then tell you their stories and you will gain knowledge. Beneficial outcome: By the time their oral story reaches your ears it has passed through many memories and uttered by many tongues.
  • Third, Work with, and assist your mentors. Be there with gifts other than listening, i.e. tea and cappuccinos.
  • Fourth, Share the gift of your time and listening.

Personal Assessment: Yashinsky articulately describes his relationship with his storytelling elders and clearly illustrates that to gain their wisdom and blessing you must also be committed to them and be there for them.

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