Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Last Week's Storytelling Trail

Last week was a week of storytelling variety. I told stories with another storyteller and a musician on a boat as it traveled the Ohio River--we swapped back and forth with songs and stories, spinning from each other as the boat carried us up the river and back again to the pretty little town of Pomeroy where the Steamboat Festival was being held.

I told stories in an assisted living facility where my uncle now lives, telling stories from my childhood and inviting the audience to share their stories too. A couple of them actually did so, and it was my pleasure to hear them.

I told ghost stories with a friend at a library to kick off a festival celebrating a strange paranormal occurrence in the town in the 1960's, the Mothman.

Jason Burns and I swapped back and forth; sometimes he would tell a story that reminded me of a story or a ballad, and then he'd follow me with a story that I had reminded him of. Although we both came with lists of what we planned to tell, we didn't quite follow those lists and instead let the stories roll naturally, one from another.

I told stories with a dulcimer playing friend for people learning arts and old-time crafts at Cedar Lakes in my town of Ripley. My friend Heidi Muller, one of the best dulcimer players in the country, played tunes and again we played off of each other, tying what we did next to what the other had just done. I love this way of storytelling because it's informal and spontaneous.

Finally, on Saturday night I told stories for people coming to learn self-sufficiency and homesteading skills.

For each of these groups the stories were different. On the sternwheeler cruise, I told stories from the early days of steamboat travel on the river.

For the seniors at the assisted living facility, I told personal stories ffrom my growing up years. I have no photos from there or from Cedar Lakes because I forgot to ask someone to take them.

At the Chickens in the Road Retreat, I tried to introduce the camp attendees to life in these mountains and to the richness of the culture that surrounded them, using stories, ballads and conversation. The night was beautiful, with the storytelling beginning just as the sun went down. The only photos I have, unfortunately, are of that gorgeous sunset because once again I was busy telling stories and did not think to ask someone to take photos (can you tell that Larry was not with me for these trips?).

It was a perfect ending to a week of stories. I feel so blessed to be able to live this life, and to share stories with so many people in so many different places.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I'd have liked to have been on that riverboat. I've always been fond of a mix of music and stories.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Bliss is getting to do what you love. Mountain tales, music, and river boats, what could be better?

Jai Joshi said...

The storytelling is best when it just flows naturally from you. I love that you guys got that opportunity to bounce stories off each other. It must have been so much fun!


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