Friday, January 18, 2013

The Storyteller

The school visit today was all that I wanted it to be: well planned, well received, a joyful, thoughtful sharing of stories and songs with over 500 children, parents and teachers. Days like this affirm what I do. During those weeks when I have no storytelling work I turn my focus to other things, sometimes researching stories, other times working on my antiques booths or working around home. When a performance comes up after a long hiatus, I often think, "Why do I do this? Would it not be easier to just be like other people and clean house and putter in my gardens instead of going out there to tell stories to strangers?"

Each time, I come home realizing that those who were once unknown are strangers no more. I come home filled with the wonder of the impact of a tale told and a song simply sung. I am humbled by the reaction to the stories, and to me, the storyteller. I realize over and over again the importance of sharing stories, of reminding people of the deep pleasure of listening, of the teachings in the old tales. I come home revitalized and determined to continue this once vaulted profession of storytelling--a profession that over the years lost its command of public interest as different forms of media developed and replaced it in the homes and hearts of people.

And yet...when I say "I am a storyteller," when I explain what a storyteller is (so many do not know and think it is only reading to little children), when I say that the stories I tell live in my mind and not on paper, when I sing the ages-old songs and see the delight and sometimes deep emotion induced in my listeners, I feel once again the power in my blood, in my voice.

I am a storyteller. I tell stories. I follow the ancient path of bards, griots, seanachies, and elders. This is who I am, this is what I do.



Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

6 comments:

A Primitive Homestead said...

When my children were very young I read to them a lot & would tell them stories about the creatures living in the woods from my heart & mind as the wodds would come each bed time. Those were good times. It's wonderful you can go into schools to share your stories. Many children may not have this at home. I'm sure it touches there heart. Thanks for your supportive comments you've left for me. Blessings! Lara

Brighid said...

And you are beautiful in it...

Stephen Prosser said...

What you do is fascinating and, despite the development of technology, may well be about to come back into fashion. With the western world becoming increasingly postmodern, storytelling is becoming highly valued again in all its differing forms. Where I come from in Africa, it still remains the principle form of teaching and communication. Keep going for it!

Amy said...

My favorite moments as the Children's Specialist at Sissonville were when I was reading or sharing a story and could tell by the child's eyes that I was no longer there. That moment when they were simply lost in their own imagination -- priceless!!

Sue said...

It's a wonderful thing to be. And so needed in our world.

=)

Rowan said...

It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to tell stories. My mother was able to do it but I didn't inherit her talent sadly. My children always had stories read to them at bedtime but not the exciting made up serials that my mum told to me which made bedtime something to look forward to.

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