Do you have storytelling books on your shelf? Have you collected articles on Storytelling? Have you taken notes at workshops and conferences? Great! Fantastic! Now, don't forget one of the most important resources you have as a storyteller... people!
Do you have other storytellers in your community? Use them as a resource. Do you know tellers on FaceBook? Use them. Do you have access to other tellers through a list-serve or other internet avenues? Use them. Do you attend guild meetings? Use them... all of them as resources... often.
Let's talk story!
Most often, we attend concerts, conferences, guild meetings and listen to each other tell stories. This is great. Experiencing other tellers is one of the best ways to learn. But there is an additional option that we sometimes forget - just talking story!
Two weeks ago, several of us went to Tucson to hear Laura Packer tell stories. On the trip down, we talked about storytelling, tellers and stories. After the concert, we went to dinner and talked story. On the trip back to Phoenix, again, we talked story. Camaraderie and discourse are invaluable tools to glean information and insight from colleagues and friends!
The Pros Do It.
Here's another example, especially for newer tellers. Ask questions...the pros do it. If you are on Facebook, ask your friends and colleagues for their thoughts on a particular subject. Join in when others post questions or pieces concerning storytelling. Join a FaceBook "Group" for storytellers (there are many). Exchange ideas with other tellers or artists.
If you are a member of NSN, you can get access to the List-Serve Discussion Group. Quite often, one teller will post a request for a particular type of story and receive dozens of replies.
Margaret Read MacDonald
Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald has been telling stories for well over 40 years. She has written and published 90+ books or CDs. She was a librarian, a folklorist and has taught storytelling all over the world. She is a fountain of storytelling knowledge! And yet, last week she used the List-Serve to ask for help with identifying "transition" stories. She wrote:
A school is holding an assembly to help their students (elementary) think about transitions…moving on to another grade and class next year. Any ideas? Sounds like a logical request for matching stories, but I am stumped. I can think of ways to torque some of my tales to sort of fit this theme. But there must be just the right story out there that I am not remembering.
One would have thought that after years of experience, she might have "all the answers". Still, she reached out to the community and her colleagues for help, and she got it. The mark of a true professional!
So get out there, connect with your colleagues and when you can...Talk Story!