Storytelling is the oldest form of communications. We told stories in gestures, painting in caves, in dance, in song, and from guttural uttering to languages, to finally the written word. “How did the hunt go?” led to many tales of bravery and “…you should have seen the mammoth that got away. It was THIS big!” (yes, the first lies too).
I have a Masters of Arts Oral Traditions, but that alone does not make me a Professional Storyteller. I tell (performance: my definition of storytelling) as one way of making a living. There are a variety of styles of storytellers and ways to tell stories as there are genre’s of books.
Most people associate storytelling with something you do with the kids. You crack open a picture book and hope they go to sleep happy. That is only one way of telling.It is not just for children, and it’s time people really realized it. It’s a community based sharing of cultures and morals and mores; stories were ways of giving out news, passing histories, commentary and caution (Red Riding Hood: watch out for strangers!).
There is: conversational storytelling; telling true stories (The Moth, etc); digital storytelling; picture book telling; corporate/organizational storytelling; and performance storytelling, where the teller orally presents a story from memory and heart, most often NOT memorized word for word, but beat by story beat. This type of storytelling allows for interpretations, mood and energy of the audience or events of the day, and takes into itself the personality of the teller. There are a few more, but these hit the major oral tradition points.
I’m a performance storyteller. Not always in costume (I do that for certain thematic shows), but I am always investing of myself into the tales I tell. I create my own, love traditional fairy and folk tales, really get into global tales, improvise many, and on occasion will tell a personal story. I take pleasure in the pleasure of the telling, and the reception of my audience. I am not a favorite of the “quiet, breathy” tellers. That’s OK. I’m boisterous and energetic, and I often try to find humorous spots in the story I tell, if not completely humorous. If Shakespeare could insert a bit of humor into his most tragic of tales, why shouldn’t I? He was of and for the common man, not some highfaluting (I never knew that was one word until now-FUN!) ways and prim and proper stuff. (OK..mini rant over).
So, Storytelling to ME is…FUN Pleasing Energy Sharing Creative Laughter Touching Adventurous Connecting Fulfilling Stress Reducing Mesmerizing Sweat Worthy! Exhilarating Pleasurable
If you like storytelling, go find a storytelling event in your area. Create one yourself. It’s not hard: check out my article in the top menu here on World Storytelling Day. I set up one in less than a month.
If you like my writing, check out my fiction at Tale Spinning. I think you’ll enjoy my attempts at a variety of genres.
For some amazing storytellers, check out:
There are plenty more around the country. Check them out.