Thursday, August 2, 2007

Being Alive in Storytelling

I wondered what story would come out of my mouth today so I could be alive in the moment. Yashinsky voiced a Portuguese proverb of "First you listen, then you talk" (p. 24) and Schank said "What story do I know that relates to the incoming story?" (p.61). My ears strained hard to find some sort of connection to stories I knew to see when I could tell.

Even before our group storytelling, I wondered if any of my geared-for-kids/family stories would work for the mood and themes of tonight's program. My eyes went big as I realized that I did not have many thought-provoking stories. Obviously, the stories I have in my repertoire caught my attention in order to tell them in the first place. Yet, I have not pondered deeply over them as we have done for our personal and myth stories in class. I went into a type of panic mode that I would not have any stories "worthy" to tell after all the intense mentoring we have received.

Then one has to wonder--is a story ever perfect? Completed?

I plan to look deeply into each story already in my repertoire and re-discover my fascination for them. Perhaps my lack to do such a thing has led me to the belief that I tend to be plastic and manufactured in my tellings. One of the most "alive" moments seemed to be when I shared Grant's story the first day we went to North Carolina. The second "alive" moment was when I shared the Hephaestus story a couple months ago. Please do not misunderstand that I have not enjoyed telling for an audience before--only that the connection was not as strong as to what I'd like it to be. To keep both the Grant and the Hephaestus story alive, I must always be adding or taking or evolving based on the new experiences I receive in life day by day.

On the drive to North Carolina with Saundra and Sandy, we talked about various stories we knew--none of which turned out to be our selection for the evening. My mind was prompted by many stories that I used to tell during my high school days like "Why the Sea Moans", a folktale, or "Goliath II", a story by Bill Peet about a 6" elephant. I barely remember the plots and the endings have long past escaped my memory. I do know that these stories call to me to revisit them. I also want to explore the Dutch tale of an old woman who burns her own home to save the villagers, though the villagers are unaware of her sacrifice.

I know plenty of stories but it is getting the courage to voice them that is most challenging to me. I will always be working on new stories, too, though I should never take for granted the stories I seem to know already.

As Schank remarked, ". . .if you don't think about something you aren't likely to remember much" (p. 223). Simply thinking about my stories makes them more alive to me.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

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