What a fun day! The Southbay Storytellers and Listeners were such wonderful hosts! All day we were filled with STORIES and teller-style fellowship in a beautiful setting, the Palo Alto Friends Center. The morning began with a Story Swap on the theme that “Things are not always what they seem.” Great stories flew around the room! I heard some outstanding new tellers, too! Tall, lovely Deanna (with a resonant voice), who told a story of her not-so angelic childhood. Lance McVey, a storyteller and writer, who tells all of his original tales in verse with crisp, clear diction. Personal narrative teller Jeff Hansen told a Valentine’s story about foibles of online dating, a funny tale with strong elements of tragedy. Erica Lann-Clark, a veteran story festival and Fringe Festival performer, told a delightful Yiddish folktale about complaining….KVETCHING! Then I tackled a new personal tale that is just coming into form, and I had a chance to get some good feedback. And that is one of the most powerful aspects of being part of a storytelling guild! ~ To gain support, encouragement and input.
The late morning gave us all a chance to witness one of MaryGay Ducey’s coaching intensives. Ducey is one of the nation’s most respected, influential and dedicated storytelling professionals. (She has been my own mentors since the early 1980’s, counseling, guiding and befriending me.) One of the founders of the Bay Area Storyelling Festival, she has also been its artistic director for many years. A trained actor with a Master’s Degree in Children’s Librarianship, she has it ALL! She is such a supportive and wise. We’d all be a head of the game if we’d grabbed a chance to work with MaryGay. She has such solid pointers, and allows the audience to contribute. On 2/13/2016 that was very useful because in the audience were some insightful folks, including a Santa Cruz woman who is a well-trained vocal coach, Jessica Leach*….I am planning to contact her!
The afternoon meant time for my 90-minute workshop. Disclosure: I haven’t done a Bay Area workshop in many years, so I was a bit nervous. And in this group were several National Storytelling Network honorees, including veteran Erica(mentioned above), acclaimed Sierra regional teller and NSN grant recipient Joan Stockbridge and MaryGay, plus NSN Oracle Award Winner Joy Swift, the founder of this guild and a long-time teller and storytelling advocate. YIKES!
But it went well with everyone saying that they learned a lot of new ideas, pointers, and perspectives, AND THEY HAD FUN! My workshops have lots of participation and “dive-in” activities. Topics ranged from the history of storytelling, to the tools of storytelling, to audience development and story structure, using a theory developed by scriptwriter Don Harmon: “The Circle of 8ths.” Harmon’s “Circle of 8ths” is an adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, one that is a bit more direct and simplified~Perfect as a jumping off point for story structure. The room buzzed with conversation and story being exchanged among partners. I saw lots of lightbulbs turning on as questions and comments flew around the room. Phew! It was a hit!
On the way home, all of that support and positive feedback had my soul turning cartwheels. Thank you to Joy Swift, Tom and Sandy Farley, and all of the members of the Southbay Storytellers and Listeners! I think we all had a grand time!