Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's Going on with Storytelling?

Winter is my down time for storytelling usually and I am glad of it because I don't relish the idea of road trips when the weather is as snowy and icy as it's been lately.

But I am planning and thinking about the year ahead.

There is a little news:

My latest CD, Beyond the Grave: Ghost Stories and Ballads from the Mountains was reviewed on Appalachian History this week. And it was a good review (whew!).

I was invited to be a judge for the West Virginia Liars Contest, which is held during the Vandalia Gathering at the State Capitol on Memorial Day weekend. Some performance time is part of the package, so I am really excited about this. Bring on the tall tales!

A librarian at the Dahlgren Navy base in Virginia contacted me to tell stories there in April. This base is not far from my sister Maggie's home so I'll be able to visit her too. Looks to be a fun road trip.

I've been selected to be a featured teller at the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival in Pittsburgh in August. I have participated in this festival before as both a storyteller and a volunteer, so it will be good to go back to see old friends.

I will be telling stories and recording a TV interview in Maryland the first week of March with my good friend and fellow storyteller Ellouise Schoettler.

Then there is the planning:

I am thinking about this summer's reading program in the libraries and what kind of program to offer. Last summer I stayed pretty busy with library performances; will this year be the same or will the economy begin to impact funding? I am getting to work on contacting other venues too. Tis the season to get this work done.

I've been working on promotion for the CD--requesting reviews, finding review sources. Once I have a few reviews out there, I will pull together a promotional packet to send out to libraries and other potential buyers. I have sent the CD for jurying to one arts center; still waiting to hear back from them.

Office cleaning and file sorting! During the busy summer my office became a war zone. I've been sorting, cleaning and reorganizing files so I can once again find things in here. I'm making stop is the big bookshelf. I need to get those books in some kind of order so I can find what I'm looking for more easily.

Writing. The West Virginia Writers annual writing contest is on, with submissions due by March 15. I have a few stories to polish for entry and maybe some poems. I haven't been writing as much so I'm not sure about entering this year.

Taxes. Ugh. I'm putting my records in order and getting ready to start work on preparing the return.

Thinking about new stories to tell. Last night I dreamed a complete performance. Start to finish, and there were so many problems! Late arrival, not remembering the story, bad venue so it was difficult to reach the whole audience, no microphone, wrong outfit. One of those dreams where if something can go wrong it does? I woke up exhausted, and yet exhilarated by the remembered sensation of telling. What new material do I want to develop? Nothing is jumping out at me, but I know that stories can't be forced. Something starts growing in my mind, other things feed into it, and before long I have the beginnings of a new story.

New ballads. I have found several I want to learn. My usual way of learning them is in the car, playing the song over and over until I have it fixed in my mind. Then I sing it over and over, probably 100 times or more. I research its background, find other versions, and finally it's my song. This might sound like work but for me it is pure pleasure. I love to sing, and I get pulled into a song until I can't get it out of my head.

Life will remain a slower pace through March, and begin to pick up a bit in April. May's weekends are already full and the rest of the year is slowly filling in. So I will enjoy these quiet evenings and empty weekends while I can.


Anonymous said...

I'm tired just reading about what you have been doing! tm

Granny Sue said...

That's funny, Theresa! It doesn't seem like work, that's the thing. When you are doing what you love it's not difficult, it's challenging and interesting.

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