Where The Wild Things Are (Ultimate Blog Challenge #20)


Ultimate Blog Challenge

AtoZ: Tale Spinning (my writing experiment)

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”

“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”

…which began MY favorite part of the book, Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

I this to my first born (son) and then my second (daughter..btw, names are held in private so I won’t be incriminated at a later court hearing for this being taken as teasing!). It is not the first book I’d read to them, but it WAS among the first, and it was the most fun. It’s the one that has the most meaning for me as well.

The wild rumpus would catapult us around, swinging, jumping, moving around the furniture of whatever room we were in,  and singing. I made up my own Wild Rumpus yelping and booming aloud song, that just never was exactly the same, but the flavor of the moment was always there. It didn’t matter how many times we read it (and if you’re a parent or the older sibling, you know that’s par for the course), the joy was consistent.

I loved the story: wild kid reminded me of someone (ask my Mother, name withheld), dreams fancy, of being more than what he was, being a KING, going on adventures…and then returning to find that for his transgression, he is still loved enough to have a hot meal waiting for him.  Forgiveness and love. His smile at the end makes it all a journey to experience.

My son liked the book, and he still appreciates it.  I still get to see the inner child in him (an old married man of 30 now), and he was really happy when I bought him a picture book a few years ago: a new edition of Puff The Magic Dragon, with a CD from Peter Yarrow, one of his favorite childhood songs.  I know it’s one he’ll share with HIS children (I’m not ready to be a grandpa yet. ok..yes I am. Don’t tell him that!)

My daughter remained in love with WTWTA.  Over the years, she’s gotten stuffed plush dolls of the characters, hand puppets, and Christmas ornaments, all with Max and some Wild Things. She’s an old married gal of 27 now and, again, I am pretty darn sure she will share them with her kids.

That’s what a good book and sharing does: it creates memories, and takes them further along.

What book do you love to share?

One more Books I love post tomorrow. Any guesses on what it’ll be? Those who know me really well will have a good idea.

The Once and Future King (Ultimate Blog Challenge #19)


Ultimate Blog Challenge

A to Z Blog Challenge: Tale Spinning

I love to read. When I’m not busy (define: can’t find any storytelling or Teaching Artist gigs) I read A LOT.  I always have a book in the car, in case I’m stuck somewhere or just want to relax (no, not while driving, silly…that’s what texting is for! 😉 ). But…it wasn’t always the case.

Except for comic books (which was, and always will be, a passion of mine) I hated being forced to read a BOOK for school. Yes, I did my assignments, begrudgingly. When we were allowed to bring in our own books to read, my choice was the Tom Swift series (no namby pamby Hardy Boys). I really enjoyed the Tom Swift books. Science Fiction and adventure, with a character I wanted to BE.  You’d think the teacher would have been happy I was reading, right?

Wrong. What actually made me want to read a book was NOT in her world of what book reading is. While now I know she was trying to broaden my horizons in reading, what she actually did was shut me down from wanting to read anything (yes, I am stubborn).  Instead of encouragement, or finding other books that were in the same vein but would wean me into a different direction, I got a big “NO, that book is below your reading level” (I was always testing about three to four grades higher in that) and “don’t ever bring those type of books in again.” Now, that may have not been her words, but…it’s how I took it.

The Once and Future King     and   The Man In The Maze

The two books above, by TH White and Robert Silverberg, respectively, changed that.  One high fantasy (and which continued my love of King Arthur, and was the basis of one of my favorite Disney cartoons, The Sword in the Stone); the other, Science Fiction of, to me, a quality far beyond what I had read before. I am not even sure, now, which book I read first. I’m pretty sure I read them around the same time. Both, though, raced through me, took my imagination to places I’d only glimpsed before in comics, animation and movies. THIS is was excited me, these new worlds, exciting characters, moral ambiguities, thoughts beyond the norm.

I have to thank my orthodontist for all this. In his waiting room, he stacked a bookcase full of paperbacks that he had already read, getting rid of the clutter in his house. We were allowed to borrow them, and we had to return the book before we could get another. His bookcase became my life blood in reading outside of what the schools demanded of me. I do remember beginning to read more, and I’m pretty sure that one of the next books that had an impact on me was Issac Assimov’s Foundation. His bookcase turned me onto two of my all time favorite authors:  Roger Zelazny and Micheal Moorecock. Both Science Fiction writers, and the only two that I now “collect” their body of work. So, a huge THANK YOU to Dr. Z (I honestly wish I could remember his last name, but I always called him Dr. Z) where ever you are.

Since then, I have expanded my reading genres. The more I branch out, the deeper my life referencing is. Not just in reading, but music, art, theater, dance and other things outside of the arts. As an improvisational creator and educator, I can bring so much more to who I am sharing space with. I’m not walking in, blindfolded in life by limitations of my own doing, or those “forced” upon me. I may not have the love or deeper investment someone else may have, but I can at least catch a glimmer of it and let them know that I know.

Please don’t ever discourage someone from liking something, especially in school. Find what makes them click, and expand upon it.

What turned you into a reader, or …why aren’t you one?

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knots (Ultimate Blog Challenge #18)


Ultimate Blog Challenge

A to Z Blog Challenge: Tale Spinning

At seventeen, I read a book. Nothing before, or after, has had such a profound effect on my life (reading wise, that is). My head swam for hours after I read it, completely overpowering sleep or any other thought but the puzzles, the knots, the twisting and turnings of logic into the illogical, the pretenses and hurts we put on ourselves and one another.

Yes, I’ve read books that have inspired me, caused me to think, have altered the way I lead drama and storytelling programs (see yesterday’s post: and then, you act), have justified various things in my life, or the book that started me on the path to be a voracious reader (that’s a post to come).

knots by rd laing

1: They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing, I see the game.

That’s the first page in it’s entirety. The book is only 90 pages long, but in it’s brevity it is highly complex as the  read continues. As stated by James Gordon in his  NY Times books review: “To grasp this dense and difficult book one must be willing to follow Laing in his spirals of descent. If Knots is to yield, one must yield to the knots. ”

I remember finding the book in poetry, going through my poetry/existentialist reading period,and I was looking for something new. I read the back cover (quote above), flipped through it, and paid the $1.65 for it. Yes, if you click on the link above, it’ll take you to Amazon US, where a hardcover reprinting is selling for $235.00. Go check your local library. $235.00???? Wonder what my beat up, often read, paperback copy is worth?

So..in my room, in my upholstered rocking chair (gift from an uncle), door closed, I read the book. And read it again. And my head went kablooey. So many things that swam by me in life, that I was trying to make sense of, kind of clicked in. I knew I was “offbeat”, knew I wasn’t good at playing the games (still not that great at it: just tell me like it is, period), and this book..this 90 page hump of a read, blew me away.

I feel that this book helped me to see that my non-linear thinking was not as out there as I thought it was. It has, through my aging (never growing up!) to have found it’s way for me to find depths in communications and associations, not always taking things at face value, and most likely is why I found such a connection with improvisation, in both theater and storytelling.

At 17, I read a book. Twice in one night. After the second reading, and when my mind finally slowed down enough, I wrote:

I am Stuart Nager.
Some people know me as Stuart Nager.
There are those who can’t acknowledge that I am Stuart Nager.
To them, I may not be Stuart Nager.
Then…who am I?

Who are YOU?

What kind of label am I?(Ultimate Blog Challenge: #6)


Someone asks a question: “Who are you?”, or “What do you do?” and you label yourself by answering “I am…… (btw you can answer to multiple labels)

So…Who are you (and why are you following me?). Huh..that takes on a whole lot of different connotations from the joke, when you’re blogging.

I’ve been asked that question often, mainly the “What do you do?”, and it throws me for a loop. In the context of where I am, it could lead to one thing, another location I’m something else. I can say I’m a Creative Individual, but that doesn’t cover anything concrete, when someone wants a concrete answer. Before I examine that myself, take a look at my website (pretty please!) at BornStoryteller.

Maybe you can tell me who YOU are as I try to label, and unlabel, myself.

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