The Storytelling Journey
On March 20th of this year, we will once again be celebrating World Storytelling Day. This year’s theme is Voyage, to be interpreted by storytellers as they deem fit for their specific audiences, whether it be through a wide selection of folktales on the theme or perhaps their own personal journey. As I sit here at the end of 2019, I have realized that my own journey has taken a new turn in the road, one that I am sure that will reap me great personal rewards (and hopefully professionally as well) down the sometimes smooth and bumpy road.
When I first got started on my road, I chose to view storytelling from a marketing perspective, e.g., who were the paying clients, and what was their need? Of course, this turned out to be libraries and schools. So I first worked on building a portfolio that would address such, including resources that 1) addressed school concerns, including character development, bullying, science, and so forth; 2) would adapt to almost any library Summer Reading Program theme (with fine tunings and additions here and there each year). From this focus, I created over 6 hours of performance material. And I got the bookings that I had hoped for, not only because my material worked, but also because I lived in major metropolitan and coastal areas where budgets were good. However, 7 years ago, I moved to a state in which funding in the schools is almost non-existent, and coordinating the consolidation of shows to make travel to other areas, although not impossible, is sometimes a major effort and sometimes not financially worth the effort at all, quite honestly, especially if it is only for one show.
However, I am also older, and although I still have great passion in storytelling, I am now in a place where I have my own “luxury” in basking in storytelling in a new way….in a way that is for my own discovery….my own journey. These are stories on my own “bucket list” of stories…stories that are my own storytelling spirit is begging to put out there to the world, regardless of the reward.
I first came to storytelling through an interest in writing about the characters that hung out in my father’s small town barbershop. I have now come full circle in developing 5 stories thus far and that have been well-received. I have long been interested in telling a true war story, but through the arc of a well-known fictitious tale. This longer piece is now searching for a venue for the telling of it and other stories on the theme a soldier’s homecoming. And the other day, when I made a theme inquiry to a fellow storyteller, he didn’t ply me with a link of numerous stories to research, but rather one story only which immediately resonated (I love synchronicity) and must be told. I also set up an Instagram account on which I hope to share the stories that happen all around me as I go about my daily business. And then there’s this idea I have for a book….hopefully more to come on that.
Wherever you are in your storytelling journey I hope it affords you the time, especially earlier in your career and amidst all the need to make a living too, to play with the stories you want to tell and that are persistently whispering in your ear….just tell it.