"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, December 4, 2015

December is here and with it all the winter holidays...whatever you celebrate!  One of the commonalities of these winter celebrations is the presence of light:  candles, twinkling electric lights, fires, anything that chases away the darkness of this time of year.  One thing that brings warmth and light to our lives is story.  I had the wonderful experience a week or so ago of telling at a senior independent living center.  For about 45 minutes I entertained with historical tales and basked in the warmth of their spirits and their love of story.  I've never had a more appreciative and attentive audience, proving that storytelling is timeless--there is no age limit on the enjoyment and connections that a story can create.  Don't let your holiday go by without telling stories and sharing memories.  We took the opportunity to do that around our Thanksgiving table last month and it was a great time for children and adults alike to connect with adventures of the past.  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October was an amazing month!  Not only were the trees showing off their finest colors, but the stories were everywhere.  I spent Halloween night doing a ghost tour, including visiting a haunted basement; then I told stories at a party for "big" people--the kind that like a bit of scare.  They all sat around a fire while I told ghostly tales.  Now that November is here, we are gearing up for the holidays and the family occasions that always brings.  Don't neglect to share the family reminiscences, the memories of other holidays, the escapades of when you were a child, and whatever else might come to mind while family is gathered.  Those tales bring you closer and help the children realize that their parents were young once! That is also the way to pass on to the younger generation the things that you value.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Well, let me just say that October is my favorite storytelling month of the year!  All those ghost stories and spooky tales are great to bring groups together.  (They usually try to get closer for protection, but whatever we can do to bring people together seems to be a good thing!)  There's nothing like a slightly scary story to bond an audience.  There are so many amazing Halloween and harvest festivals around, and some of those have figured out that storytelling should be part of that.  Check out your local area for venues....or, you could just hire a storyteller for your Halloween event.  Parties at this time of year are always better if story is involved.  You can decide how much "fear factor" you want:  storytellers can meet your needs from whimsical to terrifying and everything in between.  So, make a cup of hot chocolate and open up a scary novel to get you in the mood, and then hire a storyteller today!  Many cities also offer Ghost Tours and stories of haunted locals.  If you're in northern Utah, check out Ogden and Salt Lake City Ghost Tours--all the stories and chills without the gore of the haunted houses.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

School has officially started, some trees are beginning to turn, and fall is just around the corner.  And, of course, you know what that means.....ghost story season is coming!!  I love to tell the stories that give just the right amount of "spook", stories that have a twist at the end, stories that leave you wondering what really happened and whether it's possible or not.  And as the days begin to cool off, more of those extraordinary events seem ever more possible.  There's something about a cool breeze and leaves beginning to flutter down from the trees that make the supernatural events seem more real.  Whether you like a good ghost story, or just enjoy sitting around a campfire and listening to family tales, autumn is rich in the harvest of stories.  Enjoy, and if you're in northern Utah, check out Ogden and Salt Lake City Ghost Tours...you'll have a great time and you can bring the family, too.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August is here and the summer is winding to a close.  It's time for that last trip to the mountains, the beach, or wherever says "vacation" to you .  Make sure that when you get home, you tell the story of your adventures to your family and friends.  And if you're sitting around the campfire, or the picnic table or in the car...that's a great time to tell stories, too.  Sharing our experiences is what makes us human!  Enjoy these last precious weeks of summer and make story a part of them.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It's summer, and here in Utah it's HOT!  Things are sizzling and that's a good time to share stories.  Sit in the shade, pour an ice-cold drink of lemonade, and just listen!  You can travel anywhere and forget the heat as you put yourself in the story.  In honor of Independence Day here in the United States, I presented at a lunchtime concert at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City and told folk songs and stories of America.  Many know the songs, but most don't know the stories behind them, and that's where the interest lies.  Some stories are inspirational, some silly, some a bit touching, and one was even about an unsolved murder mystery case in the nineteenth century!  Check out storytelling in your community, and be sure to include it in your family activities this summer.  It's what your children and grandchildren will remember.

Friday, June 5, 2015

June is here (already) and what a glorious time of year this is!  Vacations, family reunions, picnics, travel, camping, festivals, relaxation in the sun (or shade)....did I mention story?  Hey, stories can be used at all these occasions.  Anytime stories are shared is a good time.  Ask your relatives, friends, associates, or family about their stories.  You never know when the opportunity will be missed and not come around again.  Then, share your story with them.  Stories are what bond people together, help them see their similarities and keep us human.  When you know someone's story, you truly understand another human being:  and that's beautiful!  Have a great summer!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May is here and the end of school is rapidly approaching.  As we are working our way into the summer and vacation season, be sure to include storytelling in any family visits you might make.  Family members won't be around forever, and when they're gone, so is your opportunity to hear their stories.  So, besides collecting seashells or rocks or photographs from your trips this summer, be sure to collect stories:  whether your own adventures to pass on to others, or from your relatives about their lives and journeys.  You'll always be glad to have these recorded to listen to or read in the future, and your children will thank you, too.  Happy May!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring is a great time of year to share stories with your classroom, your family, random children, adults you meet in your life...stories should be shared everywhere.  We relate to each other as humans by story; stories help us connect with others in a way that nothing else does.  So....what are you waiting for?  Share a story today. I teach at an elementary school and am amazed at how many folk tales children don't know. Many of them have never heard of Brer Rabbit, for instance. Historical tales can help us get in touch with those who have gone before and their sacrifices. We need to share some basic tales to keep our culture alive. That goes for whatever your particular culture is. If you need help, contact a storyteller and they will be glad to help you get started on the adventure of storytelling. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Weber State Storytelling Festival last week was an amazing event.  I was able to perform a historical tale about two of my ancestors that came to America on the Mayflower and the sacrifices they made for freedom of the soul.  It was great to research and make that tale come alive for an audience.  I was also able to tell some folktales to appreciative audiences of children and adults alike.  I have also been privileged to share some stories with disabled adults and they were excited and receptive to the program.  It has been a great storytelling month, and as we celebrate Read Across America (thanks to Dr. Seuss), my hope is that more adults (and youth) will try their hand at sharing, and listening to, their favorite stories.  It's a fantastic way to promote interest in reading and kindling imagination in our youth.  Tell...and then tell some more!

Monday, February 2, 2015

From Groundhog Day to Chinese New Year, to Presidents' Day and Valentine's Day, February presents many opportunities to tell stories.  Take the doldrums out of a cold winter evening by telling a tale to your family, or listen to a professional teller spin a yarn.  I have just finished with my storytelling festival in Clearfield, Utah, where an eager audience listened attentively to tellers young and old, novice and professional, share their stories.  The end of this month the Weber State University Storytelling Festival will provide three days of entertainment to families and school groups in Ogden and Layton, Utah, with outreach concerts to senior centers, schools, day care centers and other venues.  Local and national professional tellers will share a myriad of styles of telling.  If you find yourself in northern Utah from February 23rd to 25th, check it out at www.weber.edu/storytelling/ .  Events are free.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to one and all!  Let's make this the year of story.  Learn some of the stories and traditions in your part of the world--folktales are everywhere and teach interesting things about our cultures.  Learn stories about your ancestors and the struggles and triumphs in their lives.  Learn about your parents and grandparents and how the world was different when they were younger.  Share these stories in  your family circles; invited a storyteller to share the cultural and folktales of your particular region (or tales throughout the world to broaden your perspective).  Revel in the joy of story!  Stories are how much of our culture has been transmitted through the years; they are also the means by which many truths have been taught and reinforced.  Happy 2015:  Year of Story!