I haven't been talking much about storytelling lately; that's because I haven't been doing much storytelling.
Winter is typically my slow time. That's okay with me because the weather is iffy, the roads can be bad, and I like winter as a time for gathering in and enjoying the pleasures of being at home. I spend more time with my family (when we can get together, weather being an issue frequently), read more, clean and sort stuff, enjoy being outside, plan the garden and cook.
That doesn't mean that I'm not doing anything about storytelling! It is always part of my days, even if it's not actively visible. I listen to music and find new ballads to research and sing; I find new stories to develop for telling; I remember things from my childhood or my family and think about how to work them into stories. I write poems; I write stories. I research folklore. I update my mailing labels.
I also work on new projects. This past week, for example, my project was to create a booklet of programs for libraries, print it and mail it to 50 libraries. I'm also revamping my brochure and developing several different ones because what I need to tell a school principal is different from what I need to tell a librarian or a festival or conference organizer. I am nearly finished with a booklet of programs for schools; what's left to do is include information about how storytelling meets educational goals and objectives and enhances pre-literacy skills. When the booklet is complete, I expect it to be about 20 pages long.
Then there are programs to develop. A friend and I are working on one we can present together on stories and songs that migrated from the British Isles to America. I am putting together story lists to go with various programs and themes, and updating my files.
There is also the ghost stories CD to finish. It lacks the music I wanted to include, and that means coordinating with the musician.
And there is a grant I co-wrote with a local library to create a youth puppetry troupe for the library. We'll be meeting to pull that together and schedule some dates; more writing and planning ahead for that project.
That's a few of the things I do. I'm always on the lookout for puppets that might fit with a particular story, finding good storytelling clothes at resale shops, and searching for out-of-print books that might have material I can use. I stay up on the storytelling commuity via a few listserves and guild memberships, work with other storytellers on upcoming events, plan workshops, read blogs, answer emails and every now and then send out contracts if I'm lucky enough to book a gig.
When March and April roll around, storytelling usually starts to pick up. Then I am juggling performances with my job, my garden and my family. There is little time for groundwork then--it's showtime!