Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Story Qs...

Hello everyone,

On page 34 Yashinsky lists a few questions he commonly uses to help people in his workshops or classes frame stories. I wanted to share with you some of the questions I've used in the past for the same purpose...

1. What proverbs, or short, memorable phrases can you remember people saying as you were growing up to express a commonplace truth or wisdom about living?

a. Example: Mexican

i. Sleeping shrimp drift with the tide.

ii. The tree born crooked never grows straight.

iii. When the cat’s away, the mice have a fiesta.

iv. Children and drunks always tell the truth.

b. Example: Bosnian

i. Better something than nothing.

ii. Crows don’t peck another crow’s eye.

2. Report on a belief or custom from your family, community, or country of origin concerning something a person can do, say, make, wear, carry, and so forth that can produce one or the following effects:

a. Bring good luck

b. Bring bad luck

c. Bring love or romance

d. Cause harm to an enemy (by non-physical means)

e. Protect oneself or one’s family from harm (by non-physical means)

f. Foretell the future

3. Report on a belief or custom from your family, community, or country of origin concerning a supernatural creature, such as a ghost, goblin, or duende.

4. Report on a custom or practice in your family, community, or country of origin that takes place around a holiday or special annual festival or event, for example, gift-giving, feast or fast, interior or exterior decorations, costuming, ritual, or celebration. Can you explore and explain the beliefs on which this practice is based?

5. Recipies.

a. Can you share one or more of your favorite recipes for a traditional dish?

b. Are there particular special occasions when this dish is customarily served?

c. Is the dish still prepared the same way now as it was in your old home country? Are all of the traditional ingredients still available?

d. Are you or a family member able to prepare one of these dishes or a selection of them, and can you bring them in for us to try?

6. Remedies.

a. What traditional cures or home remedies were used to help people when no medical doctor was available?

b. What conditions or aliments were they intended to treat?

c. How well did they work?

d. How were the remedies gathered, prepared, and administered?

e. Are some of those remedies still used today?

f. Who knew about these remedies?

7. Crafts.

a. What traditional crafts were practiced in your family or community while you were growing up?

i. Examples include:

1. quilting

2. pottery

3. wood-carving

4. toy making

5. egg painting

6. rug making

7. needlepoint

8. furniture making

9. instrument making

b. Are any of these crafts still practiced today?

8. Stories.

a. What stories do you remember hearing when you were growing up in your home community?

b. Who told the stories best? When were the stories told (i.e. place, time of day, circumstances)?

c. Have you ever heard any stories about ghosts, supernatural creatures, foolish characters, animals, or heroes?

d. Ask your elders to talk with you about what these stories meant to them growing up. What did they learn from the stories? Were there lessons about life or special feelings they remember having from special stories?

I hope you will find these of some use. I'm nearly done with the reading for this week and will post more about my reactions to the text soon.......Josh

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