January 19, 2012

2012 International Storytelling Conference

April 7, in Istanbul, in case you were wondering. Link.

Pop quiz: what's this conference preview missing?

January 09, 2012

The Year Ahead

With 2012 still young, I thought I'd set my sights on the year ahead.

As usual, I've got some traditional folktales that I'm working on. And I'm one of many local storyellers learning part of the Kalevala for a day-long telling of this Finnish epic, hosted by our muse Cathryn Fairlee. I'm looking forward to getting to hear such an old story from the oral tradition told live, and if that weren't enough, this year Going Deep, the Long Traditional Story Retreat, is coming to my neighborhood! (I don't think that I can attend the retreat, but oh boy will I be there for the stories.)

I'm looking at possible telling far afield, but I don't think a Fringe Festival is in the cards for me this year. Instead, I might try a mini-tour in combination with a family vacation.

And I'm pledging to spend more time this year producing and curating content, rather than just consuming it. So, look for more blog posts here, as well as continuing efforts at my Tumblr sites: Story Lab X and Storytelling Looks Like This.


An audience member once asked me if I created my own material, and I confessed that much of my repertoire was ancient. But every once in a while, inspiration pokes its little head out of the compost heap, and sprouts.

Here are three seeds. I wonder if any of them will grow?

1. A character voice: A few nights ago while driving home, I tuned in a syndicated radio program whose host had a unique voice, very atypical for radio. So unusual, I started to speak aloud to myself, and play with sound production, in an effort to recreate the sound of his voice. I couldn't quite match the vocal quality I was trying to isolate, but the exercise reminded me of the variety of characterization possible... and created a challenge. The voice I'm aiming for could be quite comic. However, if I do it wrong, it could come across as mean-spirited mockery.

(I don't do extreme character voices in my performances. But that voice I heard really intrigued me.)

2. The second seed is a visual image. Not an image from a story, but an image of a storyteller. Only, a storyteller not dressed in what you expect a storyteller to dress like.

Do you dress up on stage? Do you have a storytelling outfit? Or even a costume?

has this guy got a story to tell!I have a storyteller costume, though I don't use it all the time (I'll use it in my Fringe show). When I don't wear the costume, I do think about what I'm going to wear when I tell. Certain clothes allow me to slide into my storytelling persona more easily.

But I'm really intrigued about the kind of stories that might come from a storyteller in this outfit.

It's a chicken and egg question. I don't have an outfit like this. Do the stories come first, then the outfit? Or if I get the outfit, will the stories come?

3. A song: this one has crawled straight into my heart, and evokes so many stories for me.

Happy 2012, everyone!