Lots of new projects lately Here's some of what I'm working on. These lists help me keep things organized in my own head.
Two holiday programs are coming up this month---on for children and one for adults. I'm brushing up my winter and holiday stories. There is only one time of year to tell these, after all.
Summer reading programs: library summer reading programs usually keep me busy in the summer months. This year's them, One World, Many Stories is perfect for storytelling. I am developing four programs to offer to libraries, and working on displays and crafts to go with each. This is an exciting theme with so many possibilities. I will be using flags, globes, maps, storytelling props from different countries, masks, rhythm instruments, puppets and flannelboard stories in this year's presentations--and maybe some other things too, if I have more ideas--like recipes. Sound like fun? I think so! I'm looking for more display items, things that can be identified as coming from a specific region or culture, like nesting dolls, things from African countries or India, etc.
The other side of this is promotion--how to get the word out to librarians and get them excited enough to book me at their libraries? No matter how good the programs I come up with, if no one knows about them, my work is for nothing. So I'm working on that too, designing publicity materials and compiling mailing lists.
Ballads workshop: my workshop on creating told stories from sung stories was accepted for the annual VASA Gathering, a Virginia storytelling conference. I am so looking forward to seeing my Virginia storytelling friends again.
Vandalia: the annual music and culture festival held on the WV State Capitol grounds will again feature storytelling. The WV Storytelling Guild will have a tent in the children's activities area and will be presenting a one hour concert during the festival. I will be one of the storytellers for that event. I'm looking for a good, inexpensive craft activity for children who visit the tent.
Workshop: A writing workshop is being tentatively planned in the Princeton area, a full-day event for teens and adults. I may be leading a poetry workshop; we'll see how this develops. I'm excited to be part of what seems to be a renewed interest in the arts in southern West Virginia. Or perhaps it's been there all along, and is only new to me?
WV Writers Conference: I offered to do a workshop for this year's conference, focusing on using ballad themes to develop written stories (see how old ballads can still be vital in today's world?).
Articles and reviews: I will be writing reviews for Poetica Place, an online poetry journal by Middle Island Creek Press, in addition to my bi-monthly reviews for the WV Storytelling Guild's newsletter and monthly column in Two Lane Livin'. So far none of these are paying gigs, but I am paying my dues and learning as I go in the writing business.
Poetry book: I am discussing possible publication of my poems with two publishing houses--not bigtime places, but smaller, independent publishers. Whether this will come to fruition I can't say but at least I have begun to look seriously at publishing my work.
I've been talking to my library about a possible monthly open mic session. Since I've done two of these lately I find I really like the format and I think it encourages people who might otherwise never get out and showcase their work. I need time to work out the details of this.
Then there is the log cabin room project, the gardens and usual work of putting up food and keep up with our place, but somehow most of it will get done. I am surely glad to see that retirement date moving ever closer, though.