Workshops are fun. It's always flattering when you're asked to submit a workshop idea, because it means someone thinks you *can* do a workshop, although in my experience, it may not be so much that as they're desperate to fill a program slot and know I usually can be counted on to say "yes."
So I've said yes lately. Twice. Two different workshops, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. I accepted the Sunday one much later, thinking I'd offered the same topic for Saturday and I could just leave everything packed and ready to go the next day.
Nope. Two*different* workshops. If you read the previous post here, the one waxing eloquently about the privilege of age, I forgot to mention another trade off granting those privileges, the one about holding a thought for longer than a nanosecond. It continues to amaze me that I can recall plot, characters and details of a 10-15 minute story, without notes, but can't remember why I walked into the other room.
A digression there. Another privilege of age, perhaps.
Gwyn stringing a story of Dog.
So, at the Third Annual LaCrosse Storytelling Festival, I'll be doing a workshop for families, called "String Me a Story." Here's what I told the publicity folks about it.
"String Me a Story"
Bring the whole family, grandparents too, to play with story while playing with string. You may remember the schoolyard game "Cat's Cradle?" Did you know that game actually was used to tell a story? Have fun while learning and relearning different string figures you can use to tell your own stories in your own family. Strings will be provided!
Yes, I did say strings will be provided. What this means for me is that sometime in the week prior, I will be cutting lengths of nylon braided cord, causing no amount of mischief from our cat trying to snag the ends, holding the two ends together over a candle flame until they melt, then quickly melting them into a single loop. I have done as many as 100 of these the night before an event. I'm pretty good at it now. Usually I only burn my fingertips once or twice.
Fortunately, I do have a handout ready, since I've done this workshop in the past, but it needs updating. Not too bad. All I could really use is some kid who knows string figures to help in the teaching process.
Next day, Sunday, I'll finally be doing a workshop I've spent a long time developing. I presented a workshop on the topic at Northlands Storytelling Network's spring conference last spring, but for that workshop, I was sharing how other tellers might present it in their own community setting. I called it "Mom Always Liked You Best! Telling Stories on Your Family," and my idea is to get families turning off the tv and sitting together to recount family stories and legends. I get to actually do this with families this time, I hope, when I offer the workshop as part of West Salem's Founder's Day celebration. A culminating project for the family groups will be to begin making a small keepsake scrapbook to save the story they've developed, thereby combining my storytelling passion with scrapbooking. We'll see. What does this mean for me? Redesigning my handouts, because the ones from last spring were designed for storytellers, not family groups. It also means cutting and folding the small keepsake scrapbooks, then visiting my friend at Office Max with her extra long stapler to put them together.
I see a theme here, one that involves having to make thingies, strings or scrapbooks. Whatever happened to the pure simplicity of a story well told, anyway? Apparently it's a marketing thing.
We still have this need to walk away from an experience with a thingie. If the thingie of choice is a magical storytelling string, see me on Saturday. If a small keepsake scrapbook is more to your liking, you need to be there on Sunday. Take your pick.
"String Me a Story" Family workshop, LaCrosse Storytelling Festival, September 17, Pettibone Park
"Mom Always Liked You Best! Telling Stories on Your Family," September 18, West Salem Founders Day