"A story beats with the heart of every person who has ever strained ears to listen. On the breath of the storyteller, it soars. Until its images and deeds become so real you can see them in the air, shimmering like oases on the horizon line." Cameron Dokey, The Storyteller's Daughter

Friday, April 6, 2012

April is here:  spring, daffodils, beautiful blue skies, and many more opportunities to tell (and listen to) stories.  A few weeks ago I was volunteering in a large building in Salt Lake City, Utah.  My job there is to greet people and make them feel welcome.  I was talking to a family and discovered that they were traveling from Iowa, and the exact town where I spent most of my elementary school days...long ago.  After we reminisced about various local landmarks and how the flooding several years ago has affected the area, I mentioned one of my fondest childhood memories.  When I was younger my parents took me to some children's theater productions at the local college.  That is probably the first time that I was introduced to the stage (a passion for me) and was able to see the actors up close and personal, as they came into the lobby and greeted the children as we left.  The "mascot" for this theater was a dancing ear of corn--not a real ear of corn, but someone in a costume!  This dancing corn would introduce each play with the "theme song" of the theater, which was called "Playtime Poppy".  (This really happened:  everything in Iowa is related to either pigs or corn.)  As I was sharing this story, the woman in the group told me that she was on the board of directors for that same "Playtime Poppy" theater, though they now travel and use the stages at local high schools.  They are still producing children's theater for yet another generation of kids.  Her husband said, "Well, you can go back and tell the board how that affected someone."  You see, I happened to be involved with a community theater production at the time we were having this conversation: that early exposure to the stage made me want to participate in it years later.  What a small world this is, and what a difference in someone's life we can make without even knowing who they are.  Those who acted in those plays so long ago didn't have any idea the effect they had on at least one child, who has now acted in over 30 theater productions!  What effect can telling stories have on your family?  your friends?  those you may not even know?  Try sharing a story today and see what it does for you and those you care about.  Consider having a professional teller come to an event you may be planning this spring.  What power there is in story, whether on the stage or in the living room.  Keep telling tales.