Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Storyteller gets rich!

I had a little storytelling gig yesterday, one of the gratis ones I sometimes do that end up being far more gratifying than the "big bucks" ones. That was sarcasm about the "big bucks," lest anyone walk away from reading this thinking storytellers get rich financially!

We don't become rich financially, but the riches we collect along our storytelling path are far better. I told stories yesterday to girls in an area EvenStart program. Girls. Most approximately the ages of my fairly immature alien adolescent masculine life forms residing here at this moment, but all girls who are, like me, parents. Granted, their children are much younger. In fact, one girl was coming for the first time since the birth of her beautiful 10 pound 4 ounce baby boy.

It was a strange mix of teenage girl goofiness and behavior I recall all too well in my years teaching middle school and traveling abroad with groups of high schoolers, and maternal care for their babies.

I'd met their teachers at one of those inservice programs teachers must endure a few times each year. They presented a workshop on the work they were doing in the Family Literacy Center with the "MotherRead" program. Readers of this blog, if there are any, will have figured out this kind of thing is my "bag," and after the workshop, I told these ladies I'd love to offer storytelling programs if they'd be interested.

So I arrived yesterday in the middle of a long, grey rainy day, ready to tell one story for teenage girls and one that younger kids enjoy. Of course, a well told story will enchant listeners of all ages, but I chose two stories that were field tested for the different age groups.

And I told...."Tatterhood" first, a folktale from Norway about a very unusual and self-reliant girl born of a magic cure. My audience was small, but they enjoyed the wildness of the heroine, as well as her resourcefulness. "Anansi Steals the Stories" came next, complete with string figure illustrations, and they enjoyed this one just as much.

I talked a little afterward about how I came to storytelling and why I think it's such a gift to our kids, encouraging these girls to give their children this gift. I learned that these girls were all trying to finish their high school education as well as take part in the EvenStart program, and told them all they really deserve credit, as it's never easy to be a parent. One girl, with the metal band t-shirt, multiple piercings and interesting hairstyle just said, "Not easy doesn't begin to describe it!" I told them they will be glad later they did this.

Walking out afterward, the girls gabbed with me about the things girls might. Despite the appearances, they are just girls who happen to be moms with all the typical concerns mothers have about their families. I'm glad to be able to appear before these small unpaid venues, because I'm hopeful that by doing so, they'll be encouraged to share stories, including their own heroine's journey tales, with their families. I'm hopeful that by doing so, I may be invited back some time, because the riches I amass from these encounters will feed my soul, too.




At 7:48 PM, Blogger Thena said...

You not only do interesting things but wonderful things! What a great contribution you make to our world!

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