Goal Quest-ers and Story Seekers


 

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The goals of our lives often masquerade themselves in the form of personal accolades, esteemed outcomes, alluring destinations and athletic’s teaming victories. The word goal is a four letter word for some. An, ‘I couldn’t make without them’ for others and a definite ‘must’ in the world of sports.

In reviewing the book, Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendal Haven, the word “goals” again appears in the multitude of letter-combining words and phrases on the pages in front of me. What! Goals? This is storytelling, not personal achievement, corporate conquest or athletic management; or so I alluded myself into thinking. But goals . . reading on, yes, of course goals, how simple! Stories are teaming with mischievous, magical, overachieving, dimwitted, crazed and deviant goal setters. The plot thickens with murderous intent; romantic conquest, riches unlimited; savory meals and hilarious, dim-witted drudgery. Goals spear a story forward into the eventful, how, where, when or why accolades of story’s unpredictable journey. Goals often comprise story’s navigational force and fortitude.

A trip down folktale lane sites a few infamous goal setting quest-ers and outcome adventurers:

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Norwegian Folktale)

  • The grass is always greener across the bridge, if only that loud-mouthed goat-guzzling troll would step aside.

Little Snow-White (German Folktale)

  • Seriously, four accounts of attempted murder against your own seven year old child?
  • Wild boar organs with a dash of human never tasted so good.

The Emperor’s New Clothes (Denmark Literary Tale)

  • Royally paid, nameless tailors sell the king on their cutting-edge, custom-designed, fabric-less new cloths.
  • Less than royal street gawkers, wonder if they should enact legal precedence and have this royally acclaimed stripper arrested for inappropriate, flabby and pornographic  exposure.
  • The king’s choice to maintain his legally, royally approved presence while parading through town royally exposed.

Character’s goal setting and adventurous outcomes define story’s cankerous unfolding. Goals support listener navigation through the guided or misguided intentions of its outlandish characters.  They further help story seekers step into character’s devious, mischievous, dimwitted, outwitted goal spearing adventures which lie ahead. Story’s plot is then built around the struggle, humor, adventure and wisdom of our goal quest-er’s journey.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

What I Think I Thought


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The images of story tell the tales and mark the trails of story’s propelling journey. These images provide the land marks, the physical locations, the characters’ identities and the desired destination of story’s unfolding. They too spark listeners and ignite tellers in their perceptually engaging, delightfully entertaining duck-if-you-need-to; scream-if-you-want-to; laugh-if-you-have-to interactive moments story’s story-line.

While embarrassing the interactive power of story’s vivid images, one may wonder. One might even ask. Is what I thought was suppose to be happening or really what is happening?

In the Three Little Pigs, did the first pig really build his house out of straw? Or, due to the latest straw embargo, the first little pig was found sniffing around town in search of alternative building supplies. In a moment of un-flatulated wind, a scent crosses his snout. Trotting to the corner of 124th Ave and Huff-Stop Lane, stuffed behind a local dinner, he discovers mounds of discarded onion peels.

What is the real story behind the Three Billy Goat Gruffs? . . . A local press conference reveals numerous accusations and county-wide concerns regarding cases of reported goat-guzzling trolls and troll-butting goats. County officials, recently investigated for lacing city officials grass seed with Witchatill’s Weed Cropping Organic Seedlings, presents an unprecedented, legislative proposal. If signed into law, the proposal will ban all goat-guzzling and troll-butting. Henceforth, all goats will be required to remain on their side of the bridge. County official have also announced their generous donation of Witchatill’s Cropping of Organic Seedlings to replenish the goat’s previously eaten food supply.

When crafting your story, boldly step up into, out of, on to, over and/or under the images of your story’s story-line. Entice, delight, roll or otherwise spray, splat or splatter the image’s of your story’s story-line. Then extend a hand, an elbow or a toenail as you, the story-guide, lead audience members through the captivating realism of story’s mythical and magical journey.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Opportunity


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Opportunity brings with it the alluring scent of expansion into untapped adventures and uncharted territories. Opportunity rings a curious call summing only those who are willing to listen. Story too brings opportunity. Opportunity for the teller. Opportunity for it’s characters. Opportunity for its listeners. Opportunity for each one to go beyond the bounds of who they thought they were or what they thought they might possibly be, do or say.

Storytellers craft stories. Storytellers meeting a new story face choices, challenges and opportunities in bringing fresh breath and new life to its adventurous journey. A tale now filled with emotion, opportunity, terror, travasity, humor and romance. Each mixed with the teller’s unique and captivating allure of story’s unexpected twists, turns and fated or ill-fated outcomes. A story which challenges, engages and allows audience members to experience its journey. Storytellers embrace, delight, revel and marinate in the deliciously tantalizing reality of story’s infinite journey.  Ham it, can it, ban it, expand it or rubber band it. Whatever you do, take the opportunity to add a touch of you in making this story uniquely yours.

Characters live life. Lives which represent us. Reflect our own life’s journey and the people along its way. Stereotypical character types become a universal language of images, events and familiarity. We all know them. We all love them. Other characters, not quite so stereotypical, add a sense of mystery, suspense and wonderment. Delving into your character’s innocent, mischievous or quirky  personality traits and adventurous journeys invite us, tellers and listeners alike, into the realm of opportunity, possibility and  eye-awaking intrigue. Invite story’s characters into your inner circle. Dress them, pack them and encourage them before sending them off on the opportunity of their lifetime.

Listeners engage and interact. Receiving the opportunity of story’s invitation listeners enter into and emerge from a world, a reality as vivid as their day’s adventures. A completely unforgettable, non-duplicatable, and utterly unique experience in the course of their lives. One which may be challenge, ignite, expand or propel their awareness, beliefs, feelings, emotions, ideas, choices or even unexplored opportunities for change.

Opportunities give all of us infinite possibilities.
Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin.

 

 

 

Silver-Tree and Gold-Tree: A Scottish Snow White Variant – Part 1


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Troutie, a multi-lingual trout, lives in the well at the edge of the glen. Exactly how many languages and which ones he knows, is currently unknown. However, one thing is known. Troutie speaks fluent trout and at least one or two human dialects.

Bordering on the lower west side of Troutie’s glen is Silver-Tree, her husband the king, and their daughter Gold-Tree’s kingdom.  The family palace of residence is located on the upper north east side near the ocean. Over the course of a few decades, Silver-Tree has cultivated a strong relationship with Troutie.

Standing beside Troutie’s well, Silver-Tree cries;

“Troutie. Oh Troutie, my bonny little Troutie, am I not the most beautiful queen in all the world?”

Glowing, Silver-Tree breathless awaits her favorite response;

“Of course it’s you! You are the most  beautifully gorgeous and spectacularly stunning of all reigning Queens!”

Upon hearing it, Silver-Tree blushes. Silver-Tree gushes. Silver-Tree confidently steps forward into yet another year’s worth of beauty reigning, kingdom success.

The following year, leading the way, Silver-Tree arrives at the well on their pre-designated, pre-appointed date and time, with Gold-Tree following close behind.

Standing alongside Troutie’s well, Silver-Tree peers inside. Looking down, she cries;

“Troutie. Oh Troutie, my bonny little Troutie, am I not the most beautiful queen in all the world?”

Glowing, Silver-Tree breathless awaits her favored response.

“This year it’s definitely not you but you’re welcome to come back next year and try again,” exclaims Troutie.

“What!” cries Silver-Tree angrily. “This has never happened before. Who is it?”

“Your daughter, Gold-Tree,” Troutie replies.

Going home in a near state of semi-explosive, rage-induced lava, Silver-Tree returns home. Vowing her revenge, she collaps. Bedridden, teetering on the edge between worlds, hubby asks what is wrong. She isn’t real clear on a diagnosis, just on the medicinal cure: the heart and liver of her only child Gold-Tree.

Really, what’s a poor old dad to do? I mean his wife is lying there dying right before his very eyes, smitten with an almost incurable disease. Fortunately for him, a King in a faraway land has just asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Dispensing with the traditional formalities, grand announcements and wedding hoopla, he agrees. Wishing Gold-Tree well, he says his good-byes. He then puts Gold-Tree and her husband to be on a ship back to her husband’s homeland.

Problem solved. Well almost. Putting great faith in the placebo effect, he sends a mere lad out to slay a he-goat, trusting that most internal organs between the male and female species are the same, as in identical. Thankfully for him mom took the placebo, ate the organs and miraculously came into a full recovery.

You would think that everyone could now live in peace. Ha! This could have been the peaceful end to a near tragic tale, but no. A year later, on a certain day of days, Silver Tree makes her annual visit to the fairy glen to meet with her bonnie little friend, Mr. Talkative or Troutie, the trout who lives in the well which stands in the fairy glen.

Not only did that sniveling little well-dwelling trout have to once again, proclaim Gold-Tree as the most beautiful queen of all; but he also felt the need to rat out Golden Tree’s whereabouts and spill the beans on the whole he-goat organ conspiracy.

Returning home, Silver-Tree runs to hubby and talks him into getting her a ship so she can see her long-lost daughter – the one she misses terribly. Hubby agrees and off she goes. Gold-Tree recognizes her father’s ships and alerts the servants that her mother is really an unpaid professional hit-woman in disguise. Her target, none other than her only daughter Gold-Tree. The servants hide Golden-Tree in a locked room. Down on shore Mom pitches a motherly fit complete with piercing wails as she expressively expresses her undying love for her only child. The servants buy into the heart-wrenching drama of her story. They personally escort Silver-Tree to her daughter’s locked quarters. Talking through the locked door mom requests a touch between fingers before she returns home. Gold-Tree sticks out her finger. Mom spears it with a poisonous stab. Hearing the thump on the floor, Silver-Tree joyously returns to the ship leaving her daughter for dead.

Silver Tree euphorically arrives home safe and secure in the knowledge that her only daughter and sole competitor in the life and times of a true beauty queen is now dead, yet again. As for her husband, Gold Tree’s father, who knows? All anyone knows is that wife is happy, making life on the home front tolerable at worst or best; no one really knows.

Part ll continued on next post.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Vanity Reigns Supreme – Snow White and Others of Her Kind


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Vanity is truly one of human-kinds, age-old, most sought after quests. Yes, humans transfixed in the constant, pursuit of ageless beauty. Whether King, Queen, Prince, Princess . . . man, woman or child . . . each finds themselves imprisoned in the tormenting sagas of vanity’s treacherous deceit. OK, a bit dramatized, but hey, this reality is often the basic storyline found in many daily soap operas, night-time TV shows and the drama of daily life. Men in pursuit of younger women. Women in search of younger men. An aging parent’s alleged rival of a blossoming young child. One sibling being, or perceived as being, far more beautiful than the others. Multi-million dollar sales under the guise of “health and beauty aids”. . . A list which has gone on through the centuries of time. Yet, within this context lies the basis for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other variants of her story’s storyline.

Snow White’s riveting tale is filled with murderous intent, waking the sleeping dead, glass coffins and pre-pubescent dwarfs.  All of this wrapped into a thickening plot line where vanity reigns supreme. In meeting the challenges of Snow White’s dark, yet riveting story I became enthralled and fascinated with other tale type variants. Steven Swann Jones in his book, The New Comparative Method: Structural and Symbolic Analysis of the Allo Motifs of “Snow White”, states there is over 400 recorded variants of Snow White documented throughout parts of Africa, Europe, Asia Minor and the Americas.

People in the United States are most familiar with Walt Disney’s film version, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the Grimm Brother’s second literary version of Little Snow-White. Yet other variants of Snow White’s story can be found as: A Young Slave (Italy) Blanca Rosa and the Forty Thieves (Chile),  Myrsina (Greece), Silver-Tree and Gold-Tree (Scotland); The Woman and the Sun (Morocco), and Udea and Her Seven Brothers (Libya).

Author’s Note: Little Snow-White and others of her kind are a  Aarne-Thompson-Uther 709 Classification of Folk Tales (ATU Tale Types)

For additional suggestions on Snow White type tales you can go to:  http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0709.html.

And http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/sevendwarfs/other.html

For this author’s adaptation and retelling of Silver-Tree and Gold-Tree a Scottish variant of Snow White you can go to: https://gracewolbrink.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/silver-tree-and-gold-tree-a-scottish-snow-white-variant-part-1/

And https://gracewolbrink.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/silver-tree-and-gold-tree-a-scottish-snow-white-variant-part-2/

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin.

Mirror Images – Little Snow-White


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Snow White’s story, filled with its rich imagery, villainous plot and magical interlacing captured my attention and ignited my pen. Following her plot line from Little Snow-White’s first publication by the Grimm’s Brothers in 1812; their second publication of Little Snow-White in 1957; and on through Walt Disney’s animated film version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, my journey began.  Definitely a dark tale which keeps story enthusiasts of many ages engaged and riveted far into the tale’s murderous unfolding.

I mean really, one’s own Mother being brought up on four accounts of attempted murder; all against her own seven-year old daughter! Her excuse? Some misguided direction from her self-appointed beauty consultant and weasel-y snitch of a talking mirror. Even the Prince had a hard time believing this one. The one about a wooden framed piece of reflective glass being equipped with language capabilities and prophetic insights. All prior to the invention of audio recording devices.

Now, fast forwarding to the end of the story, we find Snow White, a not quite so blushing bride, passively endorsing her own mother’s public, torturous execution; death by dance in flaming hot, metallic shoes. Even the newly emerging German culture of the early 1800’s was having a hard time stomaching this one. As a result, the Grimm’s Brothers revisited their storyboards and brought to the forefront a few revisions for their second edition of Little Snow-White published in 1857. These revisions resulting in increased sales from more socially approving audiences. In the end, it was great for centuries of audience members to come. Thanks to the Grimms Brothers perceptive awareness and
pen-fully correct altercations, North American audiences have been enthusiastically experiencing Hollywood’s current trend of Snow White inspired movies.

So what changed on the story front? In part, Europe’s high maternal death rates. Mothers dying in childbirth resulted in the increased reality of blended families and the rise of step-motherhood. Coupled with economic tensions, the perception of stepmothers being “evil” dominated the social scene. So here you have it; biological mom being brought up on four accounts of attempted murder of her only child is a bit harsh, but if it’s her stepmom being brought up on these same charges, this becomes a whole new, adventurous tale to tell.

Walt Disney’s groundbreaking animated film version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 1930’s literally exploded US box offices. The Grimm’s Brother’s second version of Little Snow-White, provided Walt Disney with basis of his inspiration.  In retelling Little Snow-White, Walt Disney too met the challenges of audience-induced, story-adaptations. One was meeting North American and European cultural standards of what a socially acceptable marrying age is or should be. Legal sex at the age of seven wasn’t going to make it by today’s standards. The former, publicly torturous death by dance got artfully
re-crafted into death by nature via a one way ticket over a mountainous cliff fueled by a striking touch of lightning. Walt Disney also added his infamous signature adaptation of the Prince’s magical kiss used to awaken Snow White, his soon to be bride, from an enchanted sleep. A touch of romance surpassing Grimm’s rendition of an angry servant carelessly slamming the glass coffin; intentionally or unintentionally.

What is your favorite telling or re-telling (oral, written or filmed) version of Snow White’s infamous adventures? Why? What sets it apart, for you, from others of its kind?

 

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Four Key Elements in the Art of Story Development


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Every story we hear, read or tell has a story. The place where story-based artistry begins. So, grab a chair, a stool, or a slice of floor and your favorite muse. Now join us for a brief collaboration in the four key elements of story development. For in story, as in life, its characters are as outlandishly adventurous, deviously mischievous and outrageously zany as any of us truly are.

What is story? Isn’t everything we see, hear and talk about a story?

Story: The place where it all begins: Life is as it is . . .
Change happens . . . Now what? . . .
Life as it has been will never again be the same. A new normal unfolds . . .
The place where the beginning is never the same as the ending.

Story: The narrative and the meaning we attach to the events of our lives.

Storytelling: An interactive art form where storytellers, though their voice and gesture, invite people to join them on a guided tour of vivid imagery.

Destination: Ending’s New Beginning

  • What do you love about the story? I mean really, love about it. If you don’t love it, don’t tell it. By its nature, what we love, naturally grows.
  • What is the ending? It is much easier to get there if you know where you are going! A few short words, phrases or movements guides your story’s journey securely into its destination.
  • Memorizing the ending helps insure you and your listeners arrive at their targeted destination; especially when meeting the challenges of unexpected interruptions, brain farts and cosmic disturbances.

Captivation: Love at First Sight!

  • Besides the story itself, what are some key parts or aspects of this story’s storyline which captures your attention? Why?
  • What do you love, hate, regurgitate or scream about the main characters and their antics? Why?

Engagement: The Meet and Greet of Team Building!

  • Take a few minutes to meet and greet your story’s characters. Who are they? What are they like to hang around with?
  • Revisit the key images in your story – this is correct, not the words of your story, but the images inside your story. Step inside each one of them. Who is there? What is happening around you and/or them?
  • What are the dominate feelings and emotions that you and/or your characters are experiencing?

Listen: Story’s Interactive Unfolding

Supportive, or responsive listeners help us grow our stories. Supportive listeners also allow you, the teller, to see what audience members are hearing. Storytelling is an interactive art form. Responsive listeners support storytellers in naturally bring out unexpected and unrehearsed bits of humor; spontaneous internal dialog; insightful moments of awareness; or newly inspired story-line twists and turns.

Select a few supportive; non-critical, non-critiquing, non-judgmental listeners or consult the services of an experienced storytelling coach. Listeners, per your direction, can either:

  • Listen without comment.
  • Listen and offer what they appreciated about the experience and/or the story.
  • Listen and offer bother appreciations about the experience and/or the story and offer any questions they might have.
  • When working with a professional storytelling coach you may also want to add some suggestions regarding the more technical and artistic aspects of storytelling and story development.

Celebration: A gift from my heart to yours . . . Story’s Story Continues . . .

Your story is a gift to your audiences. Like any gift, it is given from the heart. Invite your audience members to join with you on an interactive journey into the enchanting realm of story’s vivid realism and adventurous journey.

Remember: It’s your story to tell, so tell it like it is; in only the way you can! Let your story be the one long remembered after the performance or presentation is done.

                                                                                     

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin . . . !