I'm just home from tonight's storytelling performance, and I'm on a natural high, the kind that comes from knowing that what happened was exactly right and perfect and could not have been better. Ah, what a feeling!
The audience was a group of developmentally challenged young adults, aged 17-27. The place was a weeklong summer camp that included classes, sports, and entertainment. I was tonight's entertainment.
I've told for similar groups a few times, and each time has been pure pleasure. These guys know how to listen to a story. They jump right in with you, enjoying the story to its fullest. They volunteer when asked, sing along, laugh with delight at humor, are quiet when the story gets serious.
Tonight's group was just plain awesome. We laughed and sang and shared the stories in a campfire circle (no fire, thank goodness-too hot and too wet, so no smoke and heat to deal with!). They delighted in Jack's unabashed courting in Jack and Old Fire Dragaman, were astounded by my version of Walking Catfish, played right along with Uwungalema (even wearing the tails!, and the Queen was on a wheelchair throne), sang with me, figured out the ninth riddle in The Devil's Nine Questions, and played their parts to the hilt in Sody Sallyratus. What a blast!
The best part for me was seeing a boy who would never have volunteered, according to camp counselors, raise his hand, and to hear later that a girl who had volunteered and done a great job as the mother in Sody Sallyratus had not spoken a word at the camp until that moment. She was funny and sassy and charming, and afterward she was talking up a storm as the group made ice cream sundaes.
I stayed a while after the storytelling to have ice cream with them, and just enjoy the joy and beauty of this group. I left feeling renewed and affirmed that what I do is valuable and needed. What a gift I was given to be able to share some time with these young people.