Did you know that this weekend just past was the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee? I didn’t get to go but I bet it was a fun weekend.
They had a variety of storytellers and I am sure a lot of great stories! Did you go or have you ever been to hear a storyteller?
I grew up with storytelling as you know. My grandpa was great at it and created some fun characters — Willie, Mrs. Oheyu, and Professor Wufolskorsky, among a few others. They were part of my family and fun to hear about.
I think that the gift to be able to orally create a character and tell a story is God-given. Not all of us can weave such an amazing tapestry. Maybe it can be learned as well and certainly developed over time and practice. I was privileged to know someone who was a wonderful weaver!
Another storyteller that I heard who was fantastic was Bill Cosby. About 6 years ago in Florida, he was in concert. He told us about going to chop down his family’s Christmas tree in the snow with his kids, when a bear came up and scared them. He said, “Bears don’t eat crazy,” so crazy he became. The bear then went away and left them alone.
Dr. Cosby also told us about asking his butcher where on the turkey was the cut for bacon. He explained that on a pig, it is clear, but wondered about the turkey as well. The audience roared with laughter at the details and explanation and account of this conversation.
These stories were so funny and memorable that I can still recall them and how much I laughed while he told them. And, I have always liked his books, stand-up material, and “The Cosby Show.” He is a gem and a gifted funny man and educator.
My grandfather’s stories were truly memorable, funny, and touching as well. I think that is the sign of a good storyteller. You remember the sounds, the words and expressions used, and the material itself for many, many years after hearing them.
I consider myself a storyteller as well, but I prefer the written word to orally presenting my stories. There are many ways to tell a story and I am happy to be in a family of people who enjoy telling them! We all have a story to tell — we just have to find it and how to tell it.
Now we have another storyteller in my family. My son Ian is starting to show the gift of this art. This summer he told me a story. I had recorded it in my journal. It was dated July 19:
“Ian told me a wake-up story about a rainbow-making truck, a guy named Willie, and another truck. He said that rainbows come from God. He also mentioned Thin John Little (who was a character from my grandpa’s stories) and that Willie had gotten stuck up in a tree with a parachute.”
Beautiful! I was so impressed and wanted to hear more! He has told other stories since then and each one is memorable, and funny. He has a real gift –even at just 5 years old.
Last night before going to bed Ian told me that he wanted us to work on a new story today. I said, “okay Ian, we will do that. Sounds like fun to me!” I am thrilled and can’t wait to see what we come up with! I will let you know what develops!
I hope that you can find the way to tell your story — whether it be through words presented orally or written, through acting, photography, your activities, or music! There are so many ways to share!
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” — Brandon Sanderson