How about some beginning of the New Year goal setting? Since no one really does quit smoking, lose weight or begin a jogging program when they resolve to do so, let’s try something a little more divergent
Resolve to tell more often. For beginner or advanced, storytelling is an art. You only get better with practice and experience. Sitting here at your computer, wishing “I wish I could tell stories!” will not make it so. Go find for yourself an audience at your local school, crisis shelter, or library. Somewhere there is an audience for you. And they will be so genuinely happy that you came to be with them that you will glow with your excitement- and humbled about how powerful the words you speak become when shared from person to person.
Resolve to hear tellers more often. Listening to others tell is a joy. You’ll learn of more styles and methods, voices and pacing, gestures and responses. Join a guild, or perhaps go to a concert, but hear others tell, live, as often as you can. Better yet, be sure to attend one of the many conferences and festivals held throughout the U.S. and the world. Don’t forget- when you do get to a festival and there are “story swaps” which are open to all . . . see my first resolution.
Resolve to spend time in the public libraries. Research is an important part of being a teller. There are dozens of ancient tales, from the Grimm stories to Aesop’s tales, that are waiting to have your energy and your breath behind them. Maybe even spend some time at some large used book sale . . . the smell of paper and binding might just allow your mind to relax enough to uncover true “gems” among the neat, precise stacks of the library or in the dusty, topsy-turvy piles of used books.
Resolve to build your personal library. Buy a cassette tape, a CD or book once per month. Help support your fellow tellers and their efforts to promote this fine art. Having just the right story or reviewing a technique is one of the true joys in building your personal library.
Resolve to help someone else learn the art of telling. There are many people you will encounter who will also say “I wish I could tell stories . . . ” Encourage them, share with them you knowledge of resources, both online and offline. Lend them a book or tape from your library. Go together to a concert. Video tape each other’s telling and share a critique session over coffee. Share a library and lunch trip. You’ll both grow as tellers and as friends.
I am interested in reading what you would add to my list of resolutions.
New Year’s Resolutions for Storytellers By Sean Buvala, Copyright 1999 Storyteller.net