The euphoria of Irish Week is behind me. I'm working like mad in the evenings to catch up with garden stuff. Bless Larry's heart, the man has been cutting up onions for the freezer and has done about 15 quart bags. What a guy. He also washes jars so they're ready for me in the evening.
I thought I'd make more dill pickles tonight, but instead I'm working on my workshop and stories for the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival in Pittsburgh this weekend. I'll be presenting a workshop on ballads, so I'm brushing off my memory, updating handouts and just thinking through the presentation. And wishing I had gone ahead and bought an iPod. I had a Zune and it was awesome but it stopped working, with all my stuff loaded on it. I decided it was too much trouble and didn't replace it, but as I prepare for this workshop I am thinking how simple it would be if everything was just loaded on a little iPod. Maybe by the time I do the workshop again in Kentucky in November I'll be back on the techie track again.
Which sounds weird--ancient ballads and technology. But technology is making the ballads more accessible than ever. Some kind souls with a lot of time on their hands have digitized the 5-volume Child ballads; other old, rare books are also digitized and available for free online. It's a regular smorgasbord for ballad scholars and hobbyists. And juxtaposed against that is the ballad singer, who after research, YouTube and downloads, learns and arranges a ballad and sings it in the traditional, unaccompanied style--just the singer and his or her voice.
I think I'm almost ready. Books and handouts are packed, notes have been read, CDs and player are packed. I just need to figure out what to wear, if the heat will continue through the weekend and find a map to the motel. Then I can relax and look forward to hearing the spell-binding tales of Tim Tingle and others, seeing old friends, and making new ones. Storytelling: it's still old-world in a new-world environment.