Here in Arizona we seemed to have jumped directly from winter to summer - 95 degrees today! But officially, today is the first day of spring! Here's a little ditty that has been around for some time. Often erroneously attributed to Ogden Nash, the actual author is unknown. Remember to recite it with a "Brooklyn" accent!
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.
Thirteen years ago, Penelope Starr created Odyssey Storytelling in Tucson. An "uncensored" monthly storytelling event with six tellers revealing personal stories based on a theme. The event was curated (managed), but uncensored. She grew the concept and coached her tellers and now, the event boasts an ongoing audience of more than a hundred avid story listeners!
Penelope has just written a book about her experiences and how she built the program: The Radical Act of Uncensored Community Storytelling: Empowering Voices in Uncensored Events (published by Parkhurst Brothers).
Odyssey Storytelling in Tucson is hosting a fundraiser and book launch/signing this Friday, Marh 24th at the YWCA Southern Arizona- Frances McClelland Community Center in Tucson from 5-8 pm.
This celebration and fundraiser will be emceed by Editorial Cartoonist and Humor Columnist, David Fitzsimmons, and will feature a reading by Penelope Starr from her newly released book, The Radical Act of Community Storytelling: Empowering Voices in Uncensored Events.
This step-by-step guide chronicles Starr's years growing the community of Odyssey Storytelling. Why did a fifty-eight year old artist decide to take on a small project that turned into a successful nonprofit storytelling organization? What challenges did she face and how did she survive them? How can other communities create their own storytelling events? Experience her joys, frustrations and laughter. The Radical Act of Community Storytelling is packed with practical tips and plenty of inspirational stories.
A few favorite tellers take the stage for additional storytelling entertainment. If you love stories, freedom of speech, and want to make sure it continues, come support Odyssey Storytelling.
$10 suggested donation by cash or check. Refreshments will be served. Books will be for sale at the event.
Friday - March 24th 7:00pm - Storytelling
Community Christian Church
The Story of the Grail has captivated people for hundreds of years. With its roots in the Celtic oral tradition of heroes and magical cauldrons, the story emerged in 12th century Europe at a time of great cultural, technological, political, and spiritual change – a time not unlike our own. The questions posed by the story are as relevant today as they were when it was written. How do we cultivate open and compassionate hearts in a perilous world? When should we speak and when should we be silent? What is the connection between human wounded-ness and the health of the earth? The story is symbolically rich and complex, yet at the same time it is simply about the wonder and grace of earning a second chance.
Saturday - March 25th - 9:00am - 12:00pm - Workshop
Community Christian Church
In mythology and many personal narrative stories, the "wound" or crisis point of the story acts as a necessary initiation which, though painful, opens the individual, the family, and the village to a life of increased learning, passion and spiritual vitality. In the "Grail Tradition", this journey toward recovery, wholeness, and transformation begins with the question, "WHAT AILS THEE?" Just the asking of this question initiates the healing of the wasteland, and the curing of the wounded king, thus bringing the questioner closer to achieving the goal of his or her quest, often with a perspective that may include humor and joy. The asking of the question out loud (telling the story) likewise promotes healing in the community (those who hear the story).
This workshop requires no previous training or expertise. Participants will use stories, constructs, symbols, and archetypes from mythology and the Grail, along with perspectives from a feminine and masculine point of view, to help participants uncover the stories and insights from their lives that have the potential to foster healing for self and the community.
Arizona Storytellers:Stylish Stories Wednesday - March 29th - 7:00pm
Phoenix Art Museum
From high-end glossies to high school outfit-of-the-day Instagram looks, fashion and beauty help us define ourselves as cultures and individuals. Join azcentral.com and The Arizona Republic for a night of stylish stories.
Deb Van Tassel - storytelling coach at Arizona Republic
Joanna DeShay - designer, Black Russian Label
Liz Warren - executive director, SMCC Storytelling Institute
Alexandra Evjen - stylist, AVE Styles
Janell McClelland - associate director, Arizona State University
Titus Fauntleroy - model, Agency AZ
Angela Johnson - designer, Angela Johnson Designs
Details: 6 p.m. check-in, stories 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 29. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, Phoenix. $10, Students are $5. 602-444-8605, tickets.azcentral.com.
All Arizona Republic and azcentral subscribers receive a complimentary, gourmet brownie from Fairytale Brownies at check-in.
Deep emotions like sadness, grief and anger can be excellent vehicles for personal stories. But caveat relator (teller beware)!
Here are two aspects of telling stories about strong emotional times or incidents that must be attended to: the teller’s feelings and the feelings of the audience. One must pay close attention to both!
The emotions of the teller – you!
How close are you to this story, in terms of time? Did it happen last week or last month? Maybe it was over a year ago, or even more. Most importantly, have you dealt with your emotions regarding the incident? Have you been able to come to some sort of closure on it? If not, then it may not be the time to tell it.
Many of us want to tell our story of a difficult time in our life. We want to share these things with others so they can relate to the feelings too. But if our own emotions are still “on the edge” about it, we may not be able to tell it in a way that the audience will be able to hear it, and stay focused on the story.
If the teller is too emotional, perhaps their voice is cracking; perhaps the tears come to easily or they even break down and sob. These things divert the audience from the story and from their own lives, and make them want to “comfort and take care of” the teller. This is not the role they should be place in.
Tellers must clearly find a way to deal with their strong emotions so that they are able to control the way they tell the story and not be overcome or overwhelmed. They must be able to craft and tell the story without losing themselves.
The emotions of the audience.
The seasoned teller is always aware of the audience. First in crafting the story, then in telling it. You can’t control the emotions of every single audience member, and it is possible that one of them will be overcome with emotion. But we must try to be aware of what is happening with our listeners.
Our role as teller means that we must take care of our audience. We must provide a safe space for them to hear our story, relate to it in their own way, and come out feeling “okay” or resolved in some way. They must leave with some measure of hope, and not despair. If we are drowning, it will be impossible for us to help anyone else.
One way to accomplish this is to infuse a small bit of humor in your tale. There is almost always a bit of humor in the tragedies of life. Humor is a release for humans, a small break in the constant barrage of deep emotions. Look for it in your story. Find a way to craft it into the narrative. It will likely serve both you and your audience.
Ask yourself, "Am I strong enough to tell this story?" Then ask yourself, "How can I give that strength to my audience?"
The Heart is a Very, Very Resilient Little Muscle.
How does one craft a story about tragic life events?
First, I believe you must get some "distance" from the event. Mostly this is time, but it may also be geographical. Then, you must start to look at the incident from different perspectives; as many as you can.
Friend and colleague Laura Packer has had many of these "life moments". Dealing with the death of her husband, three years ago, has been an ongoing journey. Her writing and her telling is a great example of how one first begins to deal with tragedy, and then begins to tell the story of it.
When Kevin died I thought I would never be in another relationship. I didn't think I had it in me. Frankly, I couldn't imagine being alive in the world without him, so the thought of ever letting someone else into my heart was beyond comprehension. A bit over a year after he died I moved from our shared home to my own apartment. A lot of things drove the move, including economics, but at the heart of it was the knowledge that I needed to start figuring out what it meant to be alive in the world without him. This seemed, and sometimes still seems, impossible.
A great story, told or written, makes us look to ourselves. It makes us see ourselves in the narrative of the teller, and it gives us hope that we will come out the other end, even if we continue to experience those same feelings many times over and over.
------------------------------------THERE'S A LOT GOING ON EACH MONTH -------------------CHECK EACH WEBSITE OR CALENDAR TO CONFIRM DATES AND TIMES ---------------------------------CALL TO MAKE SURE THE EVENT IS STILL ON
East Valley Tellers of Tales -Storytellers Guild Second Saturday of each month - SCOTTSDALE - *NO meetings in July & August http://www.evtot.com
Storyfind Fourth Saturday of each month (usually - check calendar) - *NO meetings in June & July
SMCC Storytelling Institute
A monthly workshop designed to help storytellers build community and deepen repertoire. See the Calendar