Saturday, March 3, 2007

Storytelling on the Road

Exciting events have taken place in my travels over the past eight days around the Carolinas. Eight days ago, I shared stories at the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Hickory, North Carolina. I quilted together stories of growing up on the farm, tied in a story from WW II and ended with a folktale about a precious stone. I used the precious stone as a symbol of the importance of telling our own life stories. The listeners were encouraged to recall their own stories and pass them on to family and friends.

On March 1-2, I participated in the Patchwork Tales Festival in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I was among 35 to 40 regional tellers from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia who drove to various schools in York County to tell stories in 2nd grade classrooms. Yesterday I rode with Mary Smith and Millie Chaplin to Kinard Elementary School in Clover. Sharing conversations with them gave me the opportunity to get to know them – to make new friends and to do some networking.

I was impressed with the excellent students. They became so wrapped up in the stories that you could have heard a pin drop. Their listening skills impressed me very much. This was a very rewarding experience for me. I have told stories in many schools throughout the Carolinas, but these students were some of the very best! What made the visit even better was the excitement and the warm welcome that we as storytellers received from the media specialists and the teachers. I firmly believe that their excitement only serves as a positive influence on the students.

My husband and I attended the concert last evening, featuring performing artists Antonio Rocha, Eth-Noh-Tec (Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo) and Bil Lepp. We were dead tired when we returned home at midnight but it was well worth it! They put on a fantastic performance, a mixture of mime, tall tales, drama and folktales. The audience was delighted.