The gig I could have skipped....
A storytelling friend from the East Coast had what she called a "storyteller's nightmare" earlier this week. She had some personal crises occur, and what with one thing and another, she spaced out a gig she had. She was completely embarrassed, called to apologize, the program was rescheduled, and went off beautifully, no surprise to those of us who know her...Karen!
My storyteller's nightmare was a bit different. I could have missed my gig, and no one would have noticed. As a member of our local storytelling guild, the Bluff Country Talespinners, I will respond to calls asking for members to tell at an event. Sometimes the guild receives payment, and if not, they sign a contract with us sharing the value of our services. This was one of the latter types of events. The event was the end of summer reading blowout, always a joyous event in the minds of the Youth Services Library staff. This event was extra-special, as a popular children's performer in our area, Hans Mayer, would be doing his last show here before moving to Orcas Island near Vancouver. Our tellers would be doing the pre- and post-show sets. I was scheduled to tell the very last story, a wonderful short story from the Mexican borderlands called "The Boy and the Devil." It's a great closer for a library program, as it features a hero who outwits the Devil by virtue of his reading skills. I couldn't wait to try it on this large and eager audience of kids. I was especially excited, as many of them were students of mine during the school year.
Only problem was, the organizer dropped the ball. Even as she announced, "there will be a couple more stories," even as the teller who serves as our contact person was reminding her, she decided to hand out raffle prizes and ice cream. Aghh! We'd discussed that the stories should precede all that, agreed to it, and perhaps the librarian was so thrilled to be done with Summer Reading that she seized the moment.
Whatever. The end result was...Hans couldn't pack up his stuff, because she was using his sound system, kids were all over with their prizes and the audience basically got up and walked to the parking lot with their ice cream. Such is the life a storyteller sometimes. I'm glad to have been able to enjoy Hans' last program here, and wish him well on his journey to the beautiful Northwest Coast. LaCrosse's loss will be Orcas Island's gain. Thanks for blessing the underwear of a generation of Coulee Region kids, Hans!