Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back to Basics

I wrote this last night, but it did not post--Blogger problems again?

I have photos to post but Blogger is "doing maintenance" so they'll have to wait.

The pace has yet to slow down on this old place. We've had lots of company, been to auctions and yard sales, worked in the gardens and cleaned house and visited and cooked out and...well, you get the idea. Today was a return to something like what I expected retirement to be like: a little time in the gardens, a little time in the kitchen, some housecleaning, some cooking, some laundry, and then working on storytelling.

I'm getting ready for the summer library programs. The theme this year is One World, Many Stories, which is a complete fit for a storyteller. The biggest problem is choosing stories to tell! There are so many, from all corners of the world, all calling out to be told. Because, you know, if we don't tell the stories they will be forgotten. So choosing is important. I want to tell stories that might not be familiar to my audiences, while at the same time including old favorites because those too deserve to be heard again. So the process is difficult but so enjoyable.

While choosing stories, I also envision how to tell them. Will I simply tell them myself with no props, or will I tell them with audience participation? Is there a chant? Should I use puppets or tell-and-draw or even flannelboard to tell the story? Which method is most effective? What will lend variety to the program and not take away from it? Will I want a good long deep story that induces story trance, or will the children be ready for such an experience? What about having children act out the story as I tell it, something they love to do? What props, if any, should I use? What songs will we sing (because there has to be some singing!)?

You see that this process is not simple. Some libraries have requested my "story bag," which is a bag with a variety of items that relate to different stories. Children choose an item and I tell the story that goes with it. This means that I have to be sure I have the right things in the bag and that I have things representative of many world cultures and stories.

I worked on the display today. I think it will be awesome. I have several display stands--on one is an old-world map, on another the current world map. Another large unit holds flags from 6 countries and one with all the countries in the European Union, with hats from various countries around the world. I also have globes and a wide variety of fabrics to cover tables, books and puppets and matroyshkas and other other items that relate to the multicultural stories in my storybag. Some libraries want a craft activity too so that will need to be packed, and I'll need to be sure I have all the supplies needed along with scissors, glue, etc.

There is also the ballad-to story program to prepare for the West Virginia Writer's Conference and a program for children for the Princeton WV Street Fair. So this week will be mostly devoted to storytelling work, with a little jam-making and gardening on the side. As soon as Blogger is back to normal, I'll post photos of the gardens.

At least one thing I know for sure: I'm back to blogging for the next few days, and it feels very, very good.


A Vintage Green said...

Your story telling at the library will bring many dreams to many children (and any lucky parents who stay to listen).
What a pleasure to continue story telling.
- Joy

Rowan said...

There's never enough time to fit everything in is there? Your story-telling programme sounds so great. I don't think we have anything like that in this country and children gain so much for listening to stories.I still remember my mum telling me stories when I was a child - it's a gift I've always been sorry I didn't inherit from her. My own children had to be content with just having stories read to them. Most children don't even seem to have bedtime stories anymore though.

Janet, said...

Susanna, it sounds like fun. I checked out a few writing books today at the library and just for fun I checked out 'Storytelling Art and Technique.' I'll see you this weekend!

Granny Sue said...

Joy, the payback when I see their faces is enough to keep me doing this til they have to wheel me away on a stretcher. Kids love stories--and adults do too. I don't know how many times someone has told me they brought their kids or grandkids but ended up being so entertained themselves. That's the best reward there is for me.

I wonder why British libraries don't have such programs, Rowan? I know some fine storytellers over there. And you are right, most kids don't even have a bedtime story read to them any more. Such a shame.

Hey Janet, see you soon! I've got to work on my presentation tomorrow, and get my other stuff ready too. It looks like a good conference doesn't it?

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