I am finally getting back into storytelling after a six-month hiatus. I'm nervous about getting onstage again, but with two performances scheduled for this week, I better get over it. These two shows are different enough that I have been busy thinking about stories to tell, and working on some new material.
First up is a small school in the very tiptop of West Virginia's Northern Panhandle. I have only been that far north in the state once, just to say I had been there, and can claim to have seen the Great Teapot of Chester.
For this event, the organizer requested character education stories--stories with a moral. This is not a difficult set to plan because so many stories have morals; sometimes these are evident , as in Aesop's Fables, but some have layers of meanings and address ethical questions on many levels. Since this is a Kindergarten-fourth grade group, story selection has to be appropriate for their developmental level. One interesting thing about storytelling to children is that children's oral vocabulary outstrips their reading vocabulary so stories that seem too advanced are actually easily followed. Some of the stories in my bag for this program will be familiar (like Just Enough to Make a Story); others will hopefully be new to them.
Sunday is the Vandalia Festival on the Capitol Grounds in Charleston, WV, and I'm one of the judges for the Liars Contest. This annual contest draws many entrants hoping to win the grand prize--a "golden" shovel and a cash award. I'll be telling stories prior to the event, and since the liars tales are usually humorous I will include some funny stories in my set, and a new story about my parents in honor of Memorial Day. And because it is Memorial Day, I will certainly include a Jack tale in my son Jonathan's memory. He loved those old stories about the boy who managed to turn every bad situation into a win for himself.
The following Saturday I'll shift gears again and tell West Virginia ghost stories to middle-school age children in eastern West Virginia. This will be an easy set for me since ghost stories are my most requested program, and I am planning to add a new story to this set to continue to expand my repertoire.
So I'm back on the storytelling trail. I hope it will feel good and that I can once again find the joy I always expected from telling stories and meeting new audiences. Wish me luck as I start on this next leg of the journey.