It has been a roller coaster day. Here's a quick look at how it was:
Today's storytelling in Athens and Pomeroy, Ohio was a great experience. This year's summer reading theme selected by libraries has been so much fun--One World, Many Stories has so many possibilities that a storyteller is almost overwhelmed by the choices. I put together a program of highly participatory stories so that children (and adults) in the audience could be part of the telling. It has been a wild trip with many funny moments, surprising performances and new insights into the stories as they have unfolded in each venue.
I am often surprised by the abilities of those who help me tell the stories. Today, for example, a small Japanese girl who could not have been more that 3 or 4 years old performed spectacularly in the Mexican story "La Hormiguita," (you can hear a musical version of this folktale here) saying her part clearly and loudly. Often such young children are shy about taking part in a story, but this little one was perfect for her part. All of the children at both libraries were lively participants and we had a lot of blast with stories from Africa, Japan, China, and Chile too. As always, I brought a display of items from around the world, collected over the years because I just like such things. :)
Another fun part of today's programs was my friend and storyteller Donna Wilson, who took on the part of the "Knee High Man" (read a short version of this traditional southern USA story here) and did an outstanding job of making that story come to life. And other adults helped by joining in on the participation lines and songs and by taking rhythm instruments for the final song of the program. It was a magical day, with stories creating communities from groups of strangers--just as stories always do.
On my way home, I stopped into a Goodwill store just to see, you know, what they might have. I came out with dishes marked Habsburg, Austria, some Depression-era serving dishes, some German plates, Imperial glass salt and peppers, a handmade egg basket and several other great finds--many of which will end up on eBay sometime in the future. Best find? I think it might be a matted and framed print of the children's classic story "Rainbow Fish" which is going into the Christmas gift basket for a certain children's librarian friend. You never know what might be found at Goodwill.
The sad notes for the day: a storytelling friend was struck by a car yesterday and remains in the hospital with a fractured skull; another storytelling friend remains in the hospital following a stroke two weeks ago; and my good neighbor and country-living mentor Belva Simons passed away today as I was driving to the nursing home to visit her. In the midst of life there is pain, struggle, and death. And yet we soldier on, taking joy where we can find it, even if it is only in a story shared with children. I send prayers for my friends and their families on this July night, and I wish you all comfort, peace and the love of your family to help you through such vales of sadness.