|From left: volunteer Sharon Rogers, Lynn Ruehlmann, me, Andy Offut Irwin, |
Jerry Ingham, Donna Ingham, Kevin Kling, and volunteers Cassie, Cherie,
David and Tamra. In front, a young teller from Florida and Robin Bady
There is nothing like travel to broaden one's world view, even when the travel keeps us within our own country. I had never seen Utah before, so I was pretty excited to be able to see this unique part of our country. But even more than the anticipation of going to a new place, I was looking forward to being among storytellers again.
There is an energy that seems to emanate from tellers. Perhaps it is because our minds are always visualizing what people say to us and making their words into stories. Perhaps it is because storytellers tend to be very good listeners--all good stories start with having heard something that sparks an idea. Whatever the reason, conversation among tellers is always lively, usually surprising, often funny or touching and engaging on every level. Someone might say jelly donut and the jokes, stories, and memories will start, often seguing into related topics. "Doughnuts? I remember my grandmother making doughnuts one morning," someone might begin, "and the dog jumped up on the counter and ate all of them.The tracked jelly looked like blood on the floor and we thought granny was bleeding and someone called 911." Another might follow with, "I had a dog that ate tomatoes and he would slobber red juice all over the place, people thought he had rabies." And another, "Rabies? Did you hear about the guy..." and so it goes. Story after story after story. (This was not an actual conversation, mind--this is my storytelling brain riffing off the jelly doughnut and ending up with rabies. you can see how it works!)
|Lyyn, Andy, Regi Carpenter, and the young teller|
|Regi, Andy, Kevin and Robin|
|Robin doing what she does best--connecting|
I was so glad to hear Regi Carpenter present her program, "Snap," a lyrical piece about a teenager's slide into mental illness; I just wish I had been able to attend her workshop following the presentation. Noa Baum took us on a journey into her life as a young Israeli soldier and her later unlikely friendship with a Palestinian woman. I only heard Steffani Raff in the final concert, and mercy did she have us going with tales of growing up that we can all relate to. And Donna Ingham! That Texas lady can spin a tale, yall, tall or true or in between. I was so glad to meet her husband Jerry too; I've known Donna for years although our trails don't cross often--Facebook keeps us in touch and I am so thankful for that medium.
Beyond the group of us who came to present, there were all the others who came to volunteer or to attend the workshops and concerts. I finally got to meet some people I've only known online. How amazing to put faces and voices to their words! There were many new faces and voices too, and I look forward to continuing those conversations and friendships online as well.
Tomorrow, I'll show you some of what I saw while I was there. I know you'll find it as fascinating as I did.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.