Friday, July 20, 2007

Forever Finding a Voice

To this day I wonder what my place--or what my voice--is among the storytelling world. I would never want to be accused of stealing the voice or the style of another storyteller. I am on a constant search to discover my voice. Yashinsky urged us that "the only style worth pursuing is your own, however long it takes you to discover it" (p. 149).

In an attempt to figure my voice out, I wrote an artist statement. Yet, these kinds of statements tend to be no longer than three paragraphs and so it is impossible to hold the complexities of all that makes my voice as a storyteller. Patience was recommended by Yashinsky and he promised that ". . .if you are patient, and willing to make many mistakes, and willing even more to start over when you've fallen down, one day you'll find that both your stories and the voice in which you utter them are entirely your own" (pp. 149-150).

Even as I search my own style, I must think of the listeners. "It is more important for the listener to see the story than to see you" (p. 151). It does not matter if the audience remembers my cap or even the color of my hair. When someone approaches me after a performance and remembers the story, I have been given the greatest compliment.

The story is more memorable for the audience if the story rings true to the audience in their own lives. As Yashinsky reminded us, "We humans have limited patience with the display of somebody else's life on a screen, but we find our own lives infinitely fascinating." (p. 155).

After telling the "Story Pox" story, many kids have come to me and shared their own stories in relation to it. One elementary school girl told me, "I really enjoyed the stories. I especially liked the Story Pox story. It reminded me of myself." Another boy talked to me for about 20 minutes on his terminal case of this "disease" so that it delayed the principal locking up the school for the night.

When my voice can connect to the voices of the listeners, I am satisfied.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799


Barnabus said...
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Barnabus said...

Rachel, I agree. When diagnosed with story pox, a general practicner physician (mentor) helps to diagnose your way ahead and refers you to a skillful specialist. The listener(s) are the surgeon(s) who must sew the teller's skills together.

Also, your pox story is captivating and reminded me of my own experiences. Good job.