I noticed that people behave differently on planes these days. No one talks. Everyone seemed to have some device they were listening to or looking at. I've met many interesting people on flights so this new change was a little disappointing. I had my own device, however: a book. I loved looking out the window, though, and watching the clouds move below us. My flight connected in Cleveland, and the crew held us on the plane so long before disembarking that I had to run once again to make my next flight. I was glad I'd decided to wear my athletic shoes because I had to make tracks. Again, all was well and we arrived in Philadelphia on time.
The others began arriving later in the afternoon and we got right to work. The structure was simple: divide the available time by the number of people; each person can work on whatever they needed help with--marketing, presentation techniques, characters, approach, etc. We were so bad that first day! None of us stayed within our time, although we did try. So the next day we made sure we followed our own rules, and we were able to spend an entire hour on each person's work. We discussed ways to market ourselves better, including using Twitter (you will notice I now have a Twitter feed on this blog--please feel free to follow me there!), exploring new venues, how to contact schools most effectively and cold calls. We delved deep into stories, asking questions, discussing alternate versions and the background of the tales. I learned why it is not good to aspirate (I don't think I do it, but it's something to watch for); we sought stronger beginnings, clearer endings. We sang along, listened deeply and laughed a lot. We also made time for more walks, and took two more lovely hikes during our time together.
I was ready to come home Sunday and get to work, filled with good ideas and two new stories almost ready for performance. But my flight was canceled because the tornadoes in the Midwest had disrupted flight schedules. So I had another evening with my friends, and then was finally home by Monday evening.
If you ever wondered about how storytellers work on their work, now you know. It was much more fun and more productive, honestly, than working alone because the varied points of view provided insights I would not have considered. And it was just as valuable to work on the others' stories because it forced me to think about new things, to learn new perspectives and to consider more possible ways of developing and telling stories than I might ever have found on my own.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.