Marion poet cradles the individuals in her lifeby Rob NeufeldReview of: Barefoot in the Snow by Julia Nunnally Duncan (World Audience trade paper, Apr. 2013, 67 pages) “The Loving Child” might be an alternate title for Julia Nunnally Duncan’s new book of poems, “Barefoot in the Snow.” Her title poem…See More
Asheville BookWorks Inaugurates Broadside & Reading Series: Vandercooked Poetry Nights Asheville BookWorks, a community resource for print and book arts, introduces Vandercooked Poetry Nights, a reading series that offers the public the opportunity to print letterpress broadsides at the series events. The first Vandercooked Poetry Night is Saturday, June 1, 2013. Printing begins at 7:00 p.m. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Asheville BookWorks will…See More
June 15, 2013 Annual luncheon of the Montreat College Friends of the Library. Tommy Hays will be speaking about his novel The Pleasure Was Mine and previewing his upcoming What I Came to Tell You. Lunch at 12:00 noon in Gaither Fellowship Hall. $15.00 for lunch and speaker. Speaker only at 1:00 pm in adjacent Gaither Chapel $10.00. Annual dues: $15.00Reservations: 828-669-8012 Ext. 3502 or 3504See More
As the Twig is Bent, the original book in the Matt Davis Mystery Series by Joe Perrone Jr, is now available as an audio book from Audible.com and iTunes. Opening Day and Twice Bitten, the second…See More
This topic started with a search for a storyteller to introduce Robert Morgan when he kicks off the community reading of his biography, "Boone," Sept. 28 at Pack Library. Morgan will be talking about the legends and true facts about Daniel Boone. What Boone-loving, Morgan-knowing storyteller might be good getting things started?
Then I thought: Wouldn't it be great to share our experience of storytellers in the area?
So, let's make a living guide to our oral tradition. Whom have you seen/heard and loved? Tell about him/her.
I am going to limit my response to items 2 and 3
2) Yes, there are storytelling venues that are available usually as part of a local, or, regional storytelling organization. There are really very few national storytelling organizations. Seems like we are an independent group of individuals. It is my desire to have the Storytelling Center of the Southern Appalachians at Bryson City, to be the kind of place that people can come visit, listen, and if so led, maybe tell a story or two.
3) There are naturals. There are naturals that are trained. There are naturals that are good. There are naturals that are bad. One thing to remember, we all are storytellers in one fashion or another. It is the special person who is able to be a weaver of the spoken word. Let us revel in those that are the weavers.
Oh, by the way, thanks for the plug about the radio program. I am working hard to be a weaver.
Well, things are looking up! I believe we are actually talking about storytelling and not "oral interpreters" or standup comedians. What distresses me the most about current storytelling is the belief that it needs to be broken down into some kind of system, processed and "organized." That is a foolish and tragic belief....in my opinion. That is why many of us steer clear of organizations that "teach" storytelling or present a leader who is the personification of what a storyteller should be, so all we have to do is strive to be a clone. But, I'll hush now, except I would like a response to what I just said. I'd like a response to one other topic as well. An awful lot of people are under the impression that storytellers are FUNNY! That is their primary mission. I run into that everywhere I go, and when potential employers or sponsors talk to me, they often talk in terms of humor. Are you funny? they say. Then they mention a few that they find "funny." Well, I tell you what I think about that. "Funny" is easy, and yeah, I strive to be funny, but that is not my mission. Any storyteller worth a damn will strive to tell stories that may fill your heart with pride, nostalgia and maybe some tears. That is the hard mission. Don Davis and Garrison Keillor can do it. Not all of us resort to playing the bones in our head, crossing our eyes and wearing loud ties. Now, I'll wait for somebody to say something.
You know, the best stuff comes down through families, I think -- except that families have not talked in generations. These days, you're talking to a bunch of ear-plugs with kids attached. The really bad part is that it's through stories that dealing with life, itself, is passed along.
BUT -- we get 'em sometimes in a classroom setting, where all this electronic junk can't go, and kids eat stories with a spoon. So what does this tell us, about our culture? Where do we go from here?
You are right. For a long time, storytellers were replaced by the TV that hunckered down in the corner and told stories. I think that is when the "rules" originated. Every story was a specific length and if your story didn't conform to the "rules," your stories didn't get told. Well, I don't think rules apply to storytelling/storytellers. I try to avoid creating the very thing that I detest: making a set of rules that always begin with the phrase "You must never..." and then follows one of these artificial rules. Maybe I should be content to simply "suggest" an alternative view: a story begins and ends when it wants to. Follow the story's wishes.
And, you are right, Gary, stories should have no rules. In the old days when my grandmother Lilley was alive, we sat and listened as long as it took for her to tell us about how it was to go to school on the farm wagon in 1895. Touching back has always been the hallmark of a good story teller. When stories are springing forth from the tellers mind and gathering detail as the telling moves on means there cannot be a conformity.
I've never been to a storytelling workshop; therefore, I did not know there were rules in play except for the length of time allowed for a story if a teller is on stage. I learned this from being around Ray Hicks and Glenn Bolick when they have performed at festivals. Once, I was with Ray when the organizer interrupted him to say, "Your time's up. We need to let....have his turn." I nearly fell off my hay bale. But Ray said, "They figure they're a' payin' me and can tell me when to hush." He took it well. I took it that the person was crazy.
Is there so much competition among storytellers that there is not a place for story exchange where people actually come to hear authentic voices and give them more than one hour to talk?
Also, I'd like to see someone address the stories that are so well known that within certain circles telling detail is not needed because too much detail might destroy the audience member's feeling of character and place. For instance, there is a joke about how a certain group of people got together to tell jokes. A newcomer got set to have a laugh or two. Yet, the first teller yelled out a number and everyone laughed. Another person yelled out a number and the group laughed again. Finally, the newcomer asked the person sitting by him,. "Why are they yelling numbers? Why are they funny?"
The man said, "Everyone knows the jokes so well we gave each one a number. That saves us so much time that we get a lot more jokes in."
There is an amendment to that story about telling jokes. At the next meeting the newcomer got up and yelled a number. Nobody laughed. He sat down, extremely embarrassed and said the guy sitting next to him, "Why didn't they laugh?" The guy replied, "Well, it was the way you told it." That makes me very much aware in the difference a Ray Hicks version and a Bobbie McMillon or a Marilyn McMinn McCredie version of the same Jack Tale. All versions may be equally good, but the audience will react to different versions ... or not at all.
P. S. Lynn, we need you over in mythical creatures, painters, etc.